The Florida Panthers announced Monday assistant coach Mike Kitchen has opted out of the NHL's Return to Play program.

"It as a difficult decision to say the least," Kitchen said. "But the right decision for me and my family."

The Panthers, who on Monday opened training camp ahead of their play-in series with the New York Islanders, added they fully supported Kitchen's decision.

Kitchen joined the Panthers ahead of this season as part of Joel Quenneville's staff.