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Located in Sunrise, Florida, the Florida Panthers are the southernmost team in the NHL.
The Panthers began playing in the 1993–94 NHL season and made their one and only appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996, eventually losing to the Colorado Avalanche.
The team’s success in their early years was attributed mainly to their use of the “trap defense.” This conservative style of play was widely criticized; some even suggested that the Florida Panthers were ruining the game at the time. However, several other NHL teams embraced the defensive strategy throughout the 1990s and the 2000s.
Team executives expected the Panthers’ fanbase to consist of mostly Canadians living in Florida during the winter, but year-round residents fully embraced the Florida Panthers. The franchise averaged 94% capacity at the 14,500-seat Miami Arena in its first year of existence.
A very unusual goal celebration for the Florida Panthers developed during the 1995–1996 season. On the night of the team’s home opener, a rat scurried across the locker room, and winger Scott Mellanby struck the rat with his stick and killed it. During that night’s game, he scored two goals. Teammates jokingly referred to his accomplishment as a rat trick. For the rest of the season Florida Panthers Ticket Holders would throw rubber rats onto the ice to celebrate goals. Over 2,000 rubber rats landed on the ice that season.
In 2012, Florida Panthers Ticket Holders saw their team advance to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second time, but the Panthers were eventually eliminated by the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Head coach Bob Boughner joined the Florida Panthers in 2017 to guide them in their quest for a Stanley Cup win. Golden Tickets has tickets for all fans who want to watch the action.