As we emerge from the NHL All-Star break, we have all seen what an exciting 2010-11 season it’s been thus far for your Florida Panthers. We’ve seen our share of incredible wins and tough losses, but the one thing that has remained constant is the incredible fan experience inside the BankAtlantic Center.
From the pregame excitement on the JetBlue Tarmac, to Stanley C. Panther, the Ice Dancers and the game presentation, to the incredible, fast-paced, live hockey action, there’s something for everyone during Cats home games at the BankAtlantic Center.
Of course, as General Partner of this franchise and a longtime fan, I’d certainly like to see us sitting comfortably in a playoff spot and competing for a Southeast Division title, just as our fans would.
But I do recognize that in General Manager Dale Tallon, we have a man with a specific plan for this team, and we are only in the first year of that blueprint. Let’s look at what Dale and his staff have done thus far.
Nearly every move they’ve made has had a positive impact on this organization. Whether it’s acquiring Dennis Wideman, Mike Santorelli
or Marty Reasoner, signing Mike Weaver
or Chris Higgins, encouraging the development of Evgeny Dadonov and Keaton Ellerby
, or drafting four players that excelled at the World Junior Championship, there is plenty of substance to support our talk of “a plan” or “a blueprint.”
I know Dale, Assistant GM Mike Santos, Bill Torrey, and others are continuing to work to improve our franchise heading in to the Feb. 28 trade deadline, while also keeping an eye on the upcoming offseason.
Meanwhile, our organization continues to flourish in nearly every other area. Our average Panthers crowds at the BankAtlantic Center are at 91-percent capacity – aiding the exceptional fan experience and supporting our decision to lower the overall capacity to 17,040. Sponsorship revenues are up significantly from last year, and with more than 10,000 full season ticket equivalents, it’s clear we have some of the most passionate and loyal fans in the league.
From an entertainment standpoint, our diverse schedule of concerts and shows is second to none in the industry, and is further proof that the BankAtlantic Center is one of the premier venues of its kind in the world.
All told, it’s an exciting time to be involved with Sunrise Sports & Entertainment, but particularly as a Panthers fan. This team is headed for great things. Dale makes no secret of his goals: become a consistent playoff team and win a Stanley Cup. As a fan, that’s what I want to hear. Hopefully you do too.