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Peeke's Points: A New Era

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Cliff Peeke, a Panther season ticket holder since Day One, is back blogging on for a third season, giving the point of view on the Cats from a serious, die-hard fan’s perspective in his own blog titled Peeke's Points (formerly YourBLOG).

A Michigan native who’s played hockey (admittedly average at best) most of his life, Cliff grew up watching Red Wings games at the old Olympia Stadium. His allegiance changed to the Panthers the moment it was announced South Florida would have a team.

Cliff has played in adult leagues at IncredibleIce and his oldest son (age 27) plays there as well. His youngest son (age 11) is a member of the Jr. Panthers ’98 Squirt Travel Team.

Peeke's Points Archive

This difficult “step forward (if that) – two steps back” start to this season has made it tough for me to write anything new. I easily could have dusted off one of my early season blogs from the previous three years and it would have applied once again to this year. The season was looking perilously close to being over way too prematurely once again. 

And what has made this even more difficult is that everyone knows that this is the type of team that must rely on 60 minutes of “no shift off” hockey. Yet we see extended minutes, even periods, where that occurs…and all too often. The season, so far, has been less than expected and promoted.

Thankfully, we had a two game winning streak before getting a point against the Kings and we can only hope that we can capture some Devil-like magic and keep extending it. And the tonic may have just arrived in the form of our new owners…Cliff Viner and Stu Siegel. Nothing like playing for new bosses, especially “hands-on” owners.

I’m excited about this. No intended knock on Alan Cohen. Heck, I was happy when he became the owner after Huizenga lost interest. Cohen was seen as a die-hard fan and would have a keen interest in the Panthers gaining prominence in the local sports community. But it didn’t happen.  The obsession with Keenan took years to recover…if we are even there yet. It’s tough, with this team, to forget about the past when there are so many ex-Panthers sprinkled throughout the league playing at above average levels. The other day, a headline on Yahoo Sports/NHL was a story about “GOALIES SET TO DUEL”…an article about the upcoming matchup of two ex-Panther goalies…Luongo and Anderson. Made me want to vomit.

But now we have something more finite…an ownership change. It’s very true in business and sports…it really does “start at the top”. And this ends a year of speculation…will it be OZ or some other public group or someone local. If what I read and hear is true, then we have new owners that will make a difference. A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE. And for this passionate Panther fan, I am looking forward to this NEW ERA.

To Cliff and Stu…I am so happy that we have new, solid, caring ownership. I wish you the best of success and luck. Go ahead and remove Murrray, Keenan, and Martin from all Rolodex in the offices. Hopefully, this new ownership will set a fire under some dormant skates and propel this team to a win streak that really gets notices around the league. Cliff and Stu….way to go !!!!

Like I said, I just didn’t know what to write about the last couple weeks…but I’m back now.  Please continue to communicate and note my email address 
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