The New Year is almost upon us, and while the turning of the calendar often inspires us to look back at the year that was, I am more interested in looking forward to what should be an incredible start to 2010.
Even after last night’s tough loss against the Bruins at the BankAtlantic Center, your Panthers remain in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. With 39 points and a 16-17-7 record, the Cats are just one point back of eighth place in the conference and only six points out of fifth.
I have to take a moment to thank our incredible fans who packed the arena last night with an attendance of 18,799 – impressive when you consider that it was an NFL Sunday.
That said, we’ve got a huge New Year’s Eve matchup (5pm start) just a few days away against Montreal to close out 2009 - the midpoint of the season – and then the stretch run really begins in earnest. There’s no doubt it’s going to be an intense and exciting second half, especially with 10 teams within 10 points of each other and fighting for just four playoff spots.
That means every game is crucial, and home games at the BankAtlantic Center will be particularly important. So consider this a request to all Panthers fans to come out and support your Panthers the same way you did last night, especially with 21 games left until the Olympic break.
Speaking of the Olympics in Vancouver, the team rosters are starting to be announced and there are a number of Panthers in contention for spots including Tomas Vokoun and Michael Frolik for the Czech Republic, Dennis Seidenberg for Germany, Stephen Weiss
for Canada, and others.
On the business side of things our sales team is doing its best to bring large, passionate crowds to the BankAtlantic Center on a regular basis, while, based on the nearly 19,000 fans in the building last night, the draw of playoff-like hockey seems to be resonating throughout South Florida.
Meanwhile, off the ice, the ‘Center of it All’ continues to maintain its reputation as one of the top arenas of its kind in the world. A quick glance at the early 2010 schedule, which includes huge shows such as Dane Cook, John Mayer, Jay-Z, Taylor Swift, Eric Clapton and more, and there’s no doubt that the BankAtlantic Center will continue to be the No. 1 destination for South Florida entertainment for fans in 2010.
There’s no doubt 2010 is going to be a special year for the Panthers organization and all of its fans and supporters. Of course, we’ve got some business to attend to in 2009 before we can start to officially celebrate. Thanks for reading and go Panthers.