|Panthers Blogger Cliff Peeke |
Cliff Peeke, a Panther season ticket holder since Day One, will blog at FloridaPanthers.com throughout the 2007-08 season from a serious, die-hard fan’s perspective.
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 25) plays there as well. His youngest son (age 9) is a member of the Jr. Panthers ’98 Squirt Travel Team.Peeke's Points Archive
06.16.08 :::: Off-Season, Part One
Three recent positives…enough so that I had to take a few moments and jot down some thoughts. I am extremely happy with the signing of Peter DeBoer as our new coach (that’s #1). Thankfully GM Martin exercised patience in his coaching search. I was hoping he would not feel pressured into being seduced by some “big-name” ex-coaches out there…Maurice, Quinville, Wilson, etc., and instead focus on someone that Martin will work well with, is young enough to relate with our youthful team, and blend in a good amount of accountability and discipline. Peter DeBoer seems to be that guy.
I’m sure most fans, after hearing the news, thought “who’s this”? If it wasn’t for myself hearing his name on XM-NHL station as rumored to becoming Ottawa’s coach… I would have asked the same “who’s this”. The pick of DeBoer makes a lot of sense. For one, he’s not an NHL retread coach coming in with a huge ego and a potential threat to GM/Coach harmony. A problem that has set the Panthers back in the past eight years has been the lack of continuity at the GM/Coach level. And then when it appeared we had some sort of continuity, friction ultimately developed at the GM/Coach level, and internal chaos developed. You’ve got to think that Martin selected DeBoer not only for his successes within the Junior ranks, but also for their shared vision and ability to work well together. With both on long term deals, it’s a huge relief to know that management appears to be in a stable condition…something I don’t think we’ve had in a long while. DeBoer has history with a few of our players, and from what I’m reading, all of them have commented positively on his hiring.
Here’s #2…Did you all catch the news that Buffalo left Rochester after 29 or so years and their AHL affiliate is now Portland. That would mean that the Panthers now have Rochester all to themselves…our own AHL affiliate…no longer sharing. I went on the Rochester Americans website, and it clearly stated that they are the affiliate of our Panthers. This will better prepare more of our prospects more quickly and move many up to the AHL that had been forced to play in the ECHL due to roster constraints.
And finally #3…as a season ticket holder, I was very pleased to see that we are raising the prices for individual “premium” games. I even think we can raise those prices higher. At the old Miami Arena, we had a strong season ticket base and the capacity was just over 14,000. We had a long run of sellouts and it always seemed as though the place was FULL of Panther fans. In the much larger BankAtlantic Center, and a season ticket base that has not even stayed proportionate, we have way too many single game, individual seats available. That availability makes it way too easy for hordes of visiting fans to gobble up seats and raucously cheer for their team. I hate it. So…I like the idea that we are (in a way) charging these “visitors” something like a surcharge for their obnoxious behavior. It’s one thing going into an opponents arena…but to act like you own the place…that’s not right. So guess what…it’s going to cost you. I’ve gone to other teams arenas to catch the Panthers and I never act like it’s my home arena. I applaud management for charging extra…and it just increased my value to be a season seat holder. For any Panther fans complaining out there…find some relatively inexpensive mini-plan and hop on board. I’m thinking that the ones who will complain the most are going to be transplanted Rangers, Canadiens, Flyers, and Maple Leaf fans. So what!!!
NHL Entry Draft this weekend…barring a significant trade, I hope we get lucky with the 31st pick.