Most people go to Barbados for a relaxing time on the beach. But this week the Florida Panthers went there to play hockey. The trip marked the first NHL ice hockey clinic in the Caribbean. Last summer the Panthers hosted a ball hockey clinic on the island, which sits 2,596 kilometres southeast of Florida. The event took place at Icetopia Skating Rink, which has an artificial ice surface that simulates skating on real ice. Panthers defenceman Alex Petrovic, who acted as an instructor for the clinic, said the ice wasn’t too much different than regular ice. “It’s pretty cool, pretty unique,” Petrovic said according to “It’s a little bit different skating on [the artificial ice]. Some of the kids who come here regularly are actually really good at skating on it. It took myself a couple of minutes just kind of getting used to it.” Shawn Thornton, who played three seasons with the Panthers and now serves as vice-president of business operations for the team, also made the trip and said he was surprised how easily the kids learned the sport considering many had never tried it before.