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The Latest: NHL, teams, players give $2.7M to Irma relief

Tampa Bay Lightning NHL hockey player Nikita Kucherov, of Russia, left, and team captain Steven Stamkos skate during an informal practice at the Ice Sports Forum in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday morning Sept. 5, 2017. Lightning training camp begins Sept. 14. (Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

By The Associated Press

The Latest on Hurricane Irma's impact on sports (all times local):

12:45 p.m.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers, along with the NHL and the NHL Players Association are donating $2.7 million to Hurricane Irma relief efforts.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have separately pledged another $1 million to relief efforts.

The money will be directed to those affected in Florida by the massive, destructive storm. The teams will also ask fans to donate at their preseason games that start later this month.

The Panthers started grassroots relief efforts Tuesday, delivering ice and water to South Florida residents in need. The Panthers' arena in Sunrise, Florida has also been a staging headquarters for power-restoration crews and first responders.


12:25 p.m.

The FAMU Tampa Classic is going to be played as scheduled.

Florida A&M will play host to Tennessee State in Tampa on Saturday, the Rattlers' first time playing a home game in that city since 1996.

The game was in some doubt because of the impact of Hurricane Irma, but officials Tuesday confirmed plans to play.

All first responders will be given free tickets, along with their families. Donations for relief efforts will also be accepted.

Raymond James Stadium will be the site of three games this weekend: No. 22 South Florida will meet Illinois on Friday, the FAMU game is Saturday and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers open their delayed NFL season on Sunday against the Chicago Bears.


12:20 p.m.

No. 23 Tennessee and 25th-ranked Florida will play as scheduled Saturday in Gainesville.

The Southeastern Conference announced Tuesday that the league opener for both teams will remain a 3:30 p.m. kickoff at Florida Field, keeping the game intact less than a week after Hurricane Irma devastated parts of the Sunshine State.

Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin says the decision was made after meeting with city and campus officials. The stadium sustained only minor damage to signage.

The Gators (0-1) canceled their home opener last week against Northern Colorado because of the impending hurricane, which passed through Gainesville early Monday. It's unclear how much practice and meeting time Florida has missed in the past week. The Volunteers (2-0) beat Indiana State 42-7 on Saturday in Knoxville, Tennessee


12:10 p.m.

The home of the Miami Dolphins and Hurricanes has been declared safe after structural engineers found no damage related to Hurricane Irma.

The Hurricanes are scheduled to play the next game there Sept. 23 against Toledo.

"After thorough inspection by engineers, it has been deemed that Hard Rock Stadium experienced no structural damage from Irma," Dolphins president Tom Garfinkel tweeted Tuesday. "We are good to go with CanesFootball on the 23rd!"

The Dolphins' first game at the stadium will be Oct. 8. Their season opener scheduled at home this past Sunday was postponed until November because of the storm.

Engineers inspected the stadium canopy that was part of a recent $500 million renovation and found no issues, despite fears of a tornado in the area spawned by Irma.

The Dolphins' practice complex has also been declared safe and will be available when the team returns from this week's stay in California for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Garfinkel said.


11:55 a.m.

Florida Atlantic is targeting a Wednesday return to its campus in Boca Raton, and is still hoping to play its scheduled home game Saturday against Bethune-Cookman.

The Owls have been in Wisconsin since late last week. They played at Wisconsin last Saturday and were unable to get home because of the effects of Hurricane Irma.

They've remained in Wisconsin, getting help from the Badgers with logistics since.

FAU officials are still monitoring flight opportunities and recovery efforts in South Florida.


11:20 a.m.

Tim Tebow has spent time visiting with some special needs residents of a shelter for those displaced by Hurricane Irma in his native Florida.

The former Florida quarter and now New York Mets minor leaguer posted a video on Twitter Monday of himself listening to a World War II veteran play harmonica at the shelter. He also posted a picture of himself posing with volunteers at the facility. Tebow didn't give the location of the shelter.

Tebow won a national championship and the Heisman trophy with the Gators. He turned to baseball last year, though has said he hasn't given up on once again playing in the NFL. Tebow finished his baseball season with the Mets' Single-A affiliate in Port St. Lucie, Florida.


9:55 a.m.

There will be football in Tampa this weekend, and the Buccaneers will finally get to start a season delayed by Hurricane Irma's wrath.

The Bucs announced that they will be able to host the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay couldn't play at Miami as scheduled in Week 1 because of the storm.

Buccaneers CEO Brian Ford says "hosting the game is important to us, as Tampa Bay has been through a lot over the past few days.

Also, No. 22 South Florida is resuming practice Tuesday and will play host to Illinois on Friday, also at Raymond James.

USF athletic director Mark Harlan says "we are confident that Friday's game can proceed safely as scheduled without impacting the recovery efforts."


For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL.


More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25


HURRICANE NEWSLETTER - Get the best of the AP's all-formats reporting on Irma and Harvey in your inbox: http://apne.ws/ahYQGtb

Updated September 12, 2017

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