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— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) June 2, 2016
Well, last night was a big one. The Cats have a fresh new look, which was revealed to the public last night.
The rebrand marks the first major change to the team’s logo since the franchise’s inception in 1993. And on stage last night were key figures from the franchise’s past, present and future.
Aaron Ekblad, Vincent Trocheck, Shawn Thornton and Steven Kampfer were joined by alumni Ed Jovanovski, Olli Jokinen and Radek Dvorak, plus Billy Lindsay helped emcee a portion of the event.
As for the logo itself, it was inspired by the 101st Airborne Division, and pays homage to their heroism during World War II. Our own Jameson Olive took an in-depth look at that – as well as the new uniform elements – for a comprehensive, behind-the-scenes look at the rebrand. Here's a part of his conversation with Panthers owner Vincent Viola.
“For something to be so powerful, a set of values that create a dedication from an individual around events that happened 30, 40, 50 years before. That means the impact of that patch and the sacrifice it represents, every soldier that came before you, many giving their lives, was honored to wear that screaming eagle patch. I want that same feeling on a young player or a veteran player that comes to our team.”
There’s also an element of state pride in the new Panthers uniforms, as the shoulder patch features the Florida flag. Above it, a panther is crouched and ready to strike. But above that is a feature that won’t be present when the players first don the jerseys at camp.
The shoulder tabs saying “Panthers” have to be earned at camp.
"The idea is that they’ll come to training camp and they’ll only have the flag on their shoulder. Once they make the team, they earn that tab."
And the leaping cat lives on, having been updated and placed atop the players’ helmets. It’s both an homage to and an evolution of the franchise’s heritage.
The whole rebrand represents a drastic change, but it’s been well received by ESPN uniform critic Paul Lukas.
“It was worth the wait; the new look is a good one,” said Lukas.
The new look certainly graded out well with Lukas, who gave it an A-, and his entire review is worth checking out.
WEST POINT BOUND
The Panthers’ ties to the military are deep-rooted and well-documented. And during last night’s event, the team announced that the final preseason game – Oct. 8 against the New Jersey Devils – will be played at West Point.
This is actually the fourth time the team will visit West Point, having previously done so in 1995, 2007 and 2014.
One of the best on-ice stories from this past season was the emergence of the Jokinen-Trocheck-Smith line. And our season rewind series profiled one-third of that triumvirate earlier this week.
Jussi Jokinen just lit up the IIHF World Championships for the silver medal Suomi squad, keeping up the momentum from an excellent season in Sunrise. The 33-year-old put up a career-high 42 assists and added 18 goals while playing a jack-of-all-trades role.
The season rewind delves into Jokinen’s usage this season (vital on both special teams units), as well as his best game and much more.
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