Our Panthers recorded a pair of thrilling home victories in front of big crowds, while sandwiched in between, the BB&T Center hosted a sold out Maroon 5 concert. It was an exciting time for all of our guests and partners as well as our staff and the challenge now is to continue repeating that feat.
But it’s certainly motivating. Watching our team, led largely by a core of young players, fight back to beat Buffalo in a shootout on Thursday, and then comeback to beat New Jersey in overtime on Saturday, was inspiring.
It’s been a challenging year for our Cats in terms of wins and losses but the silver lining continues to be the play of our youngsters such as rookie of the year candidate Jonathan Huberdeau, Drew Shore. Jacob Markstrom, Shawn Matthias, Dmitry Kulikov, Erik Gudbranson and others.
Despite our position in the standings, our guys continue to battle every night and over the last two games they have entertained over 35,000 fans with an exciting style of play and never-say-die attitude. It’s thrilling to watch and only bodes well for the future.
Another positive sign for the bright future of this franchise are the prospects we have playing in amateur hockey at the moment. The Panthers had seven players in the 16-team NCAA Men’s Hockey Tournament when it began and Cats prospect Vincent Trocheck became the first American since Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane to win the OHL scoring title.
That crop of prospects is only going to get stronger after this year’s NHL Entry Draft where we are likely to have two of the first 35 picks in a draft that is deep in talent.
Clearly GM Dale Tallon and his staff have put our franchise in a position to recover quickly from this injury-marred season and that is reason enough for our fans to be excited.
Prior to the game on Saturday, Dale even hosted a State of the Team address with non-renewed season ticket holders to talk specifically about his blueprint and long-term strategy for success. The overarching principal was that we have a bright future with the plan in place, and we are not going to deviate from that plan because of one tough, hard-luck season.
Meanwhile, on the business side we continue to work hard to ensure that our fans continue to have the best experience possible every time they set foot inside the BB&T Center. Vice President of Sales & Service Ryan McCoy and I have continued hosting pregame fan forums and we have been immediately turning the feedback we have gotten in to new policies and procedures for the benefit of all of our guests.
Many of these changes carry over to the concert side of our business where top-notch customer service is a must. Friday’s Maroon 5 concert was a perfect example of a night when we had one of the biggest crowds in the history of the building, and nearly every guest left happy – both because it was an incredible show but also because we were prepared to make the in-arena experience as enjoyable as possible.
Now we turn our attention to the last month of the season and our remaining five home games. Dale has promised a hard-working and exciting brand of hockey for the remainder of the season and that is reason enough to come watch this young and talented team continue to grow and mature.
Thanks for reading and go Panthers.
Also, remember to follow me on Twitter @PanthersYormark
as I’ll be giving away tickets to an upcoming Cats home game this week.