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Panthers Fans Are Some Of The Best In The NHL

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

Cats Attendance Increase Is Top 10 In The League NHL Has Another Record Breaking Month

SUNRISE, Fla. – Florida Panthers fans continue to stake their claim as some of the best fans around as the National Hockey League announced today that, through December, the Panthers rank No. 9 in the 30-team league in attendance percentage increase over 2003-04.

"The numbers say that Panthers hockey is as popular as ever in South Florida," Sunrise Sports & Entertainment chief operating officer Michael Yormark said. "Our fans are some of the best in the league and they continue to be loyal and fervent as the Panthers make a push for the playoffs."

The top teams in terms of attendance include many traditional hockey markets such as Pittsburgh, Ottawa and Calgary. But in Florida, the fans have been just as passionate, as they have supported an exciting Panthers team with a plus-9-percent increase over 2003-04 including two sellouts and 10 crowds of over 17,000 through 20 games at the BankAtlantic Center.

Through 20 games in 2003-04 the Cats played in front of one sellout crowd and six of over 17,000.

"We've received some great support from the South Florida community so far this season," Panthers head coach Jacques Martin said. "The fans have helped make our building a tough place to play for opposing teams and are one of the reasons we've played so well at home."

The Cats have a stellar 12-6-2 record at the BankAtlantic Center this season, after winning just 16 home games through all of 2003-04. They currently sit just five points behind Atlanta and Montreal for the final playoff spot. The Panthers have three games left on their current five game road trip vs. the New York Islanders (Jan. 4), New York Rangers (Jan. 7) and Washington Capitals (Jan. 8). Florida then returns home for a pair of games vs. St. Louis (Jan. 12) and Columbus (Jan. 14) at the BankAtlantic Center. Both games are part of Coca-Cola Kids Month.

Overall the NHL experienced a record breaking December with an average of 16,913 fans per game, breaking the record of 16,578 fans per game set in 2001. The league's popularity is clearly growing as December marked the fourth straight month of record breaking attendance.

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