Florida Panthers will be starting their twentieth anniversary season with a new goalie and a new owner. A New York businessman, Vincent Viola has paid about $240 million to buy the franchise. He has replaced Cliff Viner as the new owner. The sale also cleared the way for the Panthers to sign Tim Thomas- the two times winner of Vezina Trophy- as their new goalie. With a new ownership and a new goaltender, the Florida Panthers tickets have boosted in sales as the team is now expected to move towards a winning streak with a fresh spirit.
About the Team
The Florida Panthers are members of the Atlantic Division of the National Hockey Leagues Eastern Conference. On 20th April 1993, the teams formation was officially announced in a press conference in Fort Lauderdale. The name Florida Panthers was chosen with the intention of panther preservation cause. The team also announced its financial commitment to preserve the endangered species of panthers. The new franchise was scheduled to join the NHL season in 1993-94.
The Minor League Affiliates for the team are San Antonio Rampage, being the latest ones since 2011, Rochester Americans before that, from 2006 till 2011, Rochester Americans (partially) from 2005 to 2006 and San Antonio Rampage from 2002 to 2005. Louisville Panthers have also been affiliated with Florida Panthers since 1999 to 2001.
The team plays at the National Car Rental Center in Sunrise, Florida, and wears uniforms that are of red, yellow-gold, white and navy blue colors. The Panthers scored 83 points in their first ever NHL session which is a record score for the inaugural match of any NHL expansion team. Only three years since their formation, Florida Panthers also reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996, under the guidance of their then head coach Doug Maclean. In the same season they also set several records for most points and wins, particularly for an expansion team.
Crests and Troughs
Despite being one of the most qualified and well practicing teams, Florida Panthers have had some bad episodes. After the incredible inaugural season, the second season also began with a fiery start of seventeen-game unbeaten record. But the second half of the season was not very lucky for the Panthers; they lost in the first round of playoffs.
Next couple of seasons seemed to have carried the curse from the second season. Regardless of some extraordinary performances by the team and players, Florida Panthers had difficulty in even reaching the playoffs. Late nineties and early 2000s were a difficult period for the team. However, as the last decade progressed, Panthers started regaining their lost splendor and stroke once again in 2009 with strong record of 41-30-11 and 93 points. The Panthers have been missing playoffs for a long time now, but last year they made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in twelve years. Who knows this season they might go even a step ahead and grab the championship? Small wonder it is then that fans are hastening to buy Florida Panthers tickets because they are expecting their favorite team to play and win this time.
The 2010-11 season for the team brought Dale Tallon as the new general manager for the Panthers who immediately set to rebuild the team with several draft picks as well as acquire certain players. The following season, Panthers went to re-brand their image and also modified the design of their costumes. 2011 offseason once again saw some changes in the lineup of the team. In 2012 after several more changes and trades, the Florida Panthers bagged their first ever victory in a division title against Carolina Hurricanes, with a 4-1 score. They were not able to reach the playoffs but nevertheless their performance was more than commendable. This year once again, the team is buckled up to give of their best. For the forthcoming season, there are high hopes and expectations by fans and players alike.