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31Days: Interviewing the Interviewer

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Welcome to's 31 Days Of Fun. This is the fourth day of our run (August 13-September 12 taking us right up to the start of training camp). Join us on Facebook or Twitter each day as we will be having our key people, staff, players, prospects - EVERYONE - answering your questions. One prize will be awarded every day! 

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Our next installment sees a Q&A with's chief writer Dave Joseph. Remember, you can send your questions to anyone in the organization via twitter, facebook or through email.

Question - Do you find the easy accessibility of the internet to be a boon or hindrance to a club's communications department?
Dave Joseph - It's a great, great benefit. During the season, we will have at least two or three web articles a day and as many as five. We can have an update post-practice within minutes up on the website. And we can provide fans up-to-date information from Coach DeBoer before and after games as well as injury updates. Overall, it's great for fans! We've made a sizable investment in covering the team and it's well coordinated and feature a great group of people, a real team in delivering news and content fans are looking for.
Question - Can it be difficult to manage the flow of info out of the organization, especially in light of the rise of "new media" outlets (i.e. blogs, social networks, etc)?
Joseph - The key thing for fans to remember is - where are they getting information from and does that person have ACCESS to the right information and right people. It's one thing to form an opinion but its another to know the situation and communicate it accurately. We have people who blog on the team that do a great job and thanks to our executive management, it is not edited or censored in any way.
Question - Dave, might be a difficult question, but do you think "selling" hockey down in Florida is based solely on winning, or do you think more can be done through sources other than the Panthers organization? The reason I ask is because I am from Ontario and don't really know what's being done in Florida to promote hockey?
Joseph - In 1993, the players who came here understood that it was a brand new market and they really needed to sell hockey. Since then, we have made huge investments including the recent expansion of incredible ICE to grow the game from a grassroots level. The best way to do that is to put the money in, build facilities as we've done and increase access to the game of hockey.  We are also increasing the amount of personal access fans have with our players.  In thirteen years, we've seen a large number of people in South Florida become savvy hockey fans. 
(Question) -  This is the worst franchise in pro sports.  When will this franchise commit to building a winning team?
Joseph - Everyone wants a winner - and they should - but that's not really a fair assessment. The Panthers missed the playoffs last year due to a tiebreaker, finishing with 93 points. The Penguins won the Cup with only six more points during the regular season. And let's not forget where this team has come from. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, there was no depth in this organization. Players like Scott Mellanby and Ray Whitney were traded for little more than a bag of donuts. There was no minor league system and the drafts from 1997-2000 were miserable failures (take a look at 2000 and you'll cringe). To build up the minor league system and have players like Markstrom, Matthias and Repik in the wings, to invest $50 million in incredible ICE and improve in wins four consecutive years is no small feat.
Question: Do you mind if we dance with your dates?
(Dave Joseph laughs) - Only if the music is good.

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