"Florida Panthers fans deserve something, anything, better than what they’ve been given in the 20-plus years of the franchise’s existence. This is a team cursed with poor drafting, or poor ownership, or poor coaching, or poor trades, or any combination of those things. Very early in their existence they made the Stanley Cup final. And that was the peak for them.
The thing is, I don’t think this team is as bad as the one that finished 29th last season. The goaltending should be better, which is enough to see some improvement, but the youngsters should also ascend modestly. Some deadwood was shed, although some younger cap deadwood was added (coughDavidBollandcough), but overall, in a weak Eastern Conference where the Toronto Maple Leafs will get some votes as a post-season team, Florida should be in the running for one of the last playoff spots.
It’s enough to give further optimism to a fan base that has been brought up on optimism and false promises without any payoff. But, still, hovering over this franchise is the prospect of relocation.
Currently, the Panthers are seeking a greater share of Broward County’s “bed tax” which are levied on tourists to the area. The hockey team receives 16 percent of that tax right now and is seeking an increase to about one-third, or 33 percent. Those who oppose a greater share going towards the Panthers want the money used on the beaches, which is a greater tourist draw than the arena.
“We estimate that about 30,000 room nights are related to all events at the arena (concerts) annually. We have over 8 million room nights per year sold,” the county’s Nicki Grossman told the Miami Herald earlier this year. The Panthers, who claim to lose $30 million a year, have a lease in the BB&T Center that runs through 2028 and a debt of about $250 million on the arena. But mayor Barbara Sharief and the county have hired a consultant who is looking into the feasibility of letting the Panthers franchise relocate and get out from under that lease.
The results of that report are expected to be released in October. On Saturday, Fox Sports published an interview with Panthers co-owner Doug Cifu who, among other things, was asked about where he saw this franchise in five-to-10 years. He dodged it with the grace of Tim Thomas defending a breakaway, saying his and Vinnie Viola’s desire was to keep the team in Florida, but he added…
“the current business model is not sustainable.”
Broward Politics @browardpolitics
"Sharief says she's now withholding opinion on Panthers bailout request, until consultant advises what county should do / Britt"
"@browardpolitics never said I would give more money to panthers BBT is a county owned facility w/250mill debt regardless"
"Miramar Commissoner Alexandra Davis, running for county,, told Sun Sentinel that Panthers owner has "gold covered faucets' in bathroom/ BW"
"As the dance goes on, Quebec’s new arena goes up. The project, which is scheduled to be completed in September of 2015, is a beacon of hope for ravenous hockey fans in Quebec City that the NHL will one day return, even without any guarantees from the league.
Below are some recent pictures from the arena site, showing the progress that has been made so far. There are three outside shots and one from the inside, followed by a video of the construction. All photos courtesy of Ville de Québec/City of Québec."
My money is on Québec!