Florida followed in the footsteps of Arizona by announcing it is open to professional sports teams amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Arizona governor Doug Ducey opened the door for sport to return to the state without fans on Saturday following the COVID-19 outbreak, which has wreaked havoc globally.

The NBA, NHL and MLS seasons have been postponed, while the start of the 2020 MLB campaign has been delayed.

But Florida's Ron DeSantis became the second governor to clear the way for sport to resume on Wednesday.

"All these professional sports are going to be welcomed in Florida," DeSantis said in a news conference midweek. "That may not be the case in every other state in this country, as we've seen.

"So what I would tell commissioners of leagues is, if you have a team in an area where they just won't let them operate, we'll find a place for you here in the state of Florida. Because we think it's important and we know that it can be done safely."

The United States has been the hardest country hit, with more than 1.4 million confirmed cases and over 85,000 deaths.

Last week's UFC 249 event was held behind closed doors in Jacksonville, Florida, while WrestleMania 36 took place in Orlando.

"Our people are starved to have some of this back in their lives," DeSantis said Wednesday. "It's an important part of people's lives."

The Florida Panthers have signed forward Cole Schwindt to a three-year, entry level contract.

President of hockey operations and general manager Dale Tallon announced the deal on Wednesday.

Florida selected Schwindt, 18, in the third round of the 2019 NHL Draft after he recorded 19 goals and 30 assists in 68 games during the 2018-19 season with Mississauga of the Ontario Hockey League. 

Schwindt was even better this season, posting 28 goals and 43 assists in 57 games to lead Mississauga with 71 points. 

In three seasons with Mississauga, Schwindt has 138 points in 191 games. 

"Cole is a talented and responsible two-way player who had an excellent season playing a key role with Mississauga," Tallon said. 

"He possesses great versatility, size and character and we are excited about his continued development with the Panthers." 

The Florida Panthers have agreed to terms with defenseman John Ludvig on a three-year, entry-level contract, president of hockey operations and general manager Dale Tallon announced on Monday.

Florida selected Ludvig, 19, in the third round of the 2019 NHL Draft.

He had 17 goals and 45 assists in 60 games with Portland of the Western Hockey League last season while serving as the team’s captain.

Ludvig finished third among all WHL defensemen in points and assists while ranking fourth in goals to help Portland go a league-best 45-11-3-4.

"John had an outstanding season for Portland in the Western Hockey League and was among the league's top defensemen," Tallon said.

"He is a talented defenseman who possesses great compete, physicality and character.

“We are excited for John's continued development and look forward to his future in the Panthers organisation."

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