In most cities, the coming of the hockey season is marked by leaves turning colors and an increase in the use of hockey jargon, like zamboni and slapshot. However, August in South Florida is a bit different. Fauna remains a bright green year 'round, the steamy humidity is right for pressing dress shirts, and most people lack a thorough hockey lexicon. But there is still a devoted puck-following group here in Florida, and its members are stoked for the opening of Florida Panther Hockey Camp at Incredible Ice (3299 Sportsplex Dr., Coral Springs) on Tuesday.
While the 2002 season was tough to swallow, with the team's 24 wins and 70 points placing it third from the bottom in the Eastern Conference, there are many reasons for optimism in 2003. The team re-signed leading goal scorer Oli Jokinen, traded for the solid Eric Messier, and picked up a few free agents, including Lee Goren.
The practice is open free to the public, with doors opening at 9 a.m. While you're at the rink, if you also have the urge to improve your skating skills, Incredible Ice offers an eight-week "Adult Learn to Skate" class, also on Tuesday. Registration costs $139. Call 954-341-9956. -- Russ Evans
Hiking, Biking, Hiking, Etc.
What is your idea of physical fitness? If it involves a triumvirate of grueling endurance stages mixing running and biking, head to Tradewinds Park (3600 W. Sample Rd., Coconut Creek) on Sunday for the fourth leg of the Keno Brothers Duathlon Series.
The race begins at 7 a.m. with a two-mile run, followed by ten miles on a bike, and concluding with another two miles of pounding the pavement. If you're not quite up to pounding and prefer a more casual pace, that's OK too. Like your junior-high P.E. coach said, everyone who participates is a winner. Only quitters lose.
Entry registration is $32, and each participant must also have a USA Triathlon license ($9). Call 954-433-3475, or check out www.multirace.com. -- Russ Evans