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If you were in the house for last Friday’s 4-2 Panthers win over the Philadelphia Flyers, you know that it was an intense, emotional and exciting affair. Not only was it a big win for our Cats over one of the top teams in the NHL, but it was also big for the fans, and for the South Florida marketplace.
From a fan perspective, it really set a whole new tone for the season. As the 15,000-plus guests left the BankAtlantic Center, there was a palpable excitement in the air. That carried over to our “FANatic Event” on Sunday, where Panthers fans got to interact with some of their favorite players, coaches and broadcasters, and take part in a number of hockey themed stations and activities at the BankAtlantic Center.
There was clearly a more positive tone, as coach Pete DeBoer spoke about building off the win over Philly.
The same could be said from a media perspective. The Sun Sentinel, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post all had great coverage of the win, while Cats players and coaches were featured on sports radio all week this week, and Jay Gilmore of WPTV Channel 5 in Palm Beach did a great feature on the team on Monday night.
That all leads us to tonight’s game against the visiting Buffalo Sabres. I won’t go so far as to say it’s a crucial game, but with the team headed out on the road for four out of the next five, it would certainly be a boost to get a win and continue the momentum that started with last Friday’s victory.
From a business perspective, we want the BankAtlantic Center to be packed with loud and passionate Panthers fans each and every gamenight. Like last Friday against the Flyers, a great crowd can turn the momentum and help our team win – “Rocking the Rink” can help lead to two points.
That’s why our ticket sales department is on the phones and in the trenches every single day making sure every South Florida sports fan has an opportunity to see the Cats live. It’s amazing to think that after tonight’s game vs. Buffalo, and next Wednesday vs. Ottawa, our next home games will be in November. And, we are only a month away from the biggest week of the year – Thanksgiving Week – featuring three home games against the Penguins, Maple Leafs and Rangers, and the Andrea Bocelli concert.
Speaking of our concert schedule, after the final buzzer tonight, our operations crew will make a quick turnaround to get ready for KISS to rock the “Center of It All” tomorrow night. Then next weekend on Halloween Eve, Star Wars In Concert will come to the BankAtlantic Center for an incredibly innovative combination of music and movies unlike anything we have ever hosted. That said, if you’re coming to the BankAtlantic Center tonight, keep an eye out for some “Star Wars icons” that may be walking around the building.
If you’re not headed out to Sunrise, I urge you to catch the game on Fox Sports Florida with new television tandem Steve Goldstein and Bill Lindsay. The duo have been great thus far in their first season in the booth, not to mention the great job FS Florida does overall, including the incredible Inside the Panthers episode on our trip to Helsinki, which debuted last week. Check out FloridaPanthers.com for more info on Fox Sports broadcasts and shoulder programming.
Either way, I’m hoping the Force is with the Panthers tonight against Buffalo. Thanks for reading and go Cats.