In case you missed it, there were several photos of an empty arena during the Florida Panthers game last night. People quickly tagged me, mentioned me and emailed last night with references to moving the Panthers to Seattle. I get it, it looks bad and we knew this was coming based on announcements from the new owner in September.
As many of you know, I have never been a fan for relocation as most attendance drops are short term in view and usually tied to poor performance on the ice. So I quickly reminded people that it was not too long ago that the Penguins, Blackhawks and Bruins were all lagers in the attendance department.
Things look bad but don’t forget that 10 Seasons ago, the Panthers out drew PIT, CHI and BOS #GiveThemAChance
— NHLtoSeattle (@NHLtoSeattle) October 14, 2014
Yes it does look bad in Florida. Can they turn it around? I don’t know. Simply stating Hockey doesn’t work in Florida is ignoring a very successful franchise just 200 miles away. Travis Hughes from SBNation wrote a great piece on the matter yesterday, do check it out. As Travis points out, other than their magical run to the Cup Finals in 1996, success on the ice has been limited. There is only so long customers will pay for a poor product which is evident if you look at Boston, Chicago and Pittsburgh historical attendance. As several native Seattleites have pointed out, there were some really dark days in the Kingdome for both the Mariners and the Seahawks.
For those that don’t know, the Panthers were sold to a new owner, Vinnie Viola last year. He is trying to turn this franchise around so give him a chance.