Florida Panthers Team History
Blockbuster Video magnate Wayne Huizenga was awarded an NHL franchise for Miami on December 10, 1992, the same day The Walt Disney Company earned the rights to start a team in Anaheim. The entry fee was $50 million, but despite fellow Florida team Tampa Bay Lightning starting play the year before, the league did not consider to be any territory infringement. Huizenga announced the team would play at the Miami Arena, sharing the building with the NBA’s Miami Heat, until a new arena was built.
In 1992, Wayne Huizenga obtained a new NHL franchise that would eventually become the Florida Panthers. Until the team had an arena of their own, they initially played at the now demolished Miami Arena, sharing the venue with the NBA’s Miami Heat. Sunrise City Manager Pat Salerno made public a $167-million financing and construction plan for a civic center near the Sawgrass Expressway in December 1995, and Broward County approved construction in February 1996. In June 1996, the site was chosen by the Panthers, and in July, Alex Muxo gathered more than a dozen architects, engineers and contractors for the first major design brainstorming session. Architects Ellerbe Becket were given 26 months to build the arena, which had to be ready by August 30, 1998, to accommodate the 1998 – 1999 NHL season. Despite never having designed a facility that had taken less than 31 months from start to finish, they accepted the job.
The Panthers moved into the brand new National Car Rental Center, later Office Depot and BankAtlantic Center, now known as BB&T Center in 1998.
The BB&T Center (previously known as Broward County Civic Arena, National Car Rental Center, Office Depot Center, and BankAtlantic Center) is an indoor arena located in Sunrise, Florida. It is home to the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League. It was completed in 1998, at a cost of $185 million, almost entirely publicly financed, and features 70 suites and 2,623 club seats.
Despite media reports saying Vincent Viola paid between $230 million and $250 million for the Panthers, operating rights to the BB&T Center and other Sunrise Sports & Entertainment entities in 2013, the West Point graduate actually paid an enterprise value of closer to $160 million. With the Panthers hampered by low attendance, Viola and his partner, Doug Cifu, have said the team’s future in Florida is uncertain because of the huge losses suffered by the team and arena. The owners say they are losing more than $20 million a year and need more public funds to survive. The struggling team is asking for a rewrite of its contract with Broward County and want the county to use additional tourism taxes to pick up $70 million in BB&T Center costs currently being paid by the Panthers.
The Florida Panthers are a professional ice hockey team based in the Miami metropolitan area. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). It was founded in 1993 as an expansion team. They play home games at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida; the Panthers are the southernmost team in the NHL. The team has made one appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals, in 1996; they lost to the Colorado Avalanche in four games.
1993 – Present National Hockey League
1993 – Present Florida Panthers
Panthers – Had Tampa Bay been awarded a baseball team in the early ’90s, they likely would’ve been called the Florida Panthers, a reference to the endangered species of the same name. Instead, the nickname was adopted by Florida’s second NHL team. Franchise owner, and Blockbuster Video owner, Wayne Huizenaga picked the name because he wanted to draw attention to the Panther, as the native wildcat of Florida was endangered at the time. When Panthers president Bill Torrey revealed the nickname, he told reporters: “A panther, for your information, is the quickest striking of all cats. Hopefully, that’s how we will be on the ice.”
Stanley Cup 0
2013 – Present BB&T Cente
2005 – 2012 BankAtlantic Center
2002 – 2005 Office Depot Center
1998 – 2002 National Car Rental Center
1998 Broward County Civic Arena
1993 – 1998 Miami Arena
2009 – Present Sunrise Sports & Entertainment
2001 – 2009 Alan Cohen and Bernie Kosar
1993 – 2001 Wayne Huizenga
93 Bill Torrey
99 Wayne Gretzky
*Blue is this team’s history