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FHN Florida Panthers Wrap: 30 Years Ago, NHL Comes to Miami



Florida panthers
Florida Panthers owner H. Wayne Huizenga unveils the team’s new look on June 14, 1993. Huizenga was granted an NHL expansion team for Miami on Dec. 10, 1992. — Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

On Saturday, the Florida Panthers celebrated their 30th birthday as the NHL awarded franchises to Anaheim and Miami on Dec. 10, 1992.

The team would not be named the Florida Panthers until a few months later after H. Wayne Huizenga was able to buy the naming rights from a Tampa-area businessman who secured them hoping Huizenga would name his expansion baseball team after the endangered cat.

The Panthers were almost the Blockbusters. That would have been odd.

The Panthers officially played their first regular season game on Oct. 6, 1993 at Chicago Arena, forcing a 4-4 tie against Ed Belfour and the Blackhawks.

The first NHL game played at Miami Arena for the Panthers came on Oct. 12, 1993 when the Pittsburgh Penguins beat Florida 2-1.

The Panthers will celebrate their 30th anniversary next season.


The Panthers have only won two consecutive games three times this season and have yet to have any semblance of a real winning streak.

On Saturday, the team’s problems with consistency struck again in Tampa.

— With the salary cap situation the Panthers are in, they have had to stash some pretty good players in the AHL.

When needed, players like Zac Dalpe, Matt Kiersted and Chris Tierney have stepped up and given the Panthers a boost.

— A lot of video from this past week is up on the FHN YouTube Channel including postgame reactions from Tampa with Paul Maurice, Sasha Barkov and Dalpe.

Check out all of our FHN videos RIGHT HERE or just click on the videos below and enjoy them when you want to.


The Panthers really need Sergei Bobrovsky to get back on track and with his showings against Winnipeg and Detroit, they are hopeful he has done just that.

Florida is going to need both Bob and Spencer Knight this season.


Florida came into Thursday’s game with the Red Wings hurt and tired, only they dominated the game from the start and got itself a nice win in Sunrise.


If the NHL schedule-maker was feeling charitable, the Panthers would have gotten some sort of break following a five-game western roadtrip.

Alas, they did not get such a break. Florida’s recent stretch of games against a lot of playoff contenders should tell us a lot about this team.

— The Panthers were without Knight and Anton Lundell on Thursday night as they both came down with something. But Sasha Barkov was back — and that’s a pretty good addition to any team.


Barkov’s long absence from the Florida lineup was explained as Aleksander Barkov Sr. told a Finnish news organization that his son had been hit with pneumonia and that is why he was out for six games and seven of the past 10.

The Panthers were happy to have Barkov back on Thursday night.

—  Florida looked like it was on the final game of its road trip on Tuesday night as they were chasing the Jets from the get.


Maurice was back in a very familiar place as he returned to Winnipeg as coach of the Panthers.

The Jets celebrated both Maurice and assistant coach Jamie Kompon and then took care of the Panthers.

— The Panthers made some roster moves to bolster their lineup heading into the Jets game.


The Panthers cleared up quite a bit of salary cap space by placing Patric Hornqvist on long-term injured reserve.

Hornqvist took a high hit during the second period against Seattle and is out with a concussion. Radko Gudas is in the concussion protocol as well, but he remains on the active roster.

— So where does an NHL hockey team go when it has a couple of days off out west? How about Jackson Hole, Wyoming?

— With Bobrovsky struggling, Knight has taken over the Panthers’ net and has run with it. His strong play against Vancouver and Seattle was much needed.


If the Panthers were to be without Gudas and Hornqvist on Tuesday — and not place one of them on LTIR — they would have had to play two players down.

Florida has already played four games with 17 skaters (not counting the goalies) but would have had to go with 16.

Here is why.

— The Panthers were shorthanded in Seattle, but were the aggressor and led by two going into the third as Knight was fantastic and the Panthers ended the Kraken’s seven-game win streak.

Seattle will try and get some measure of revenge tonight in Sunrise.



  • When: Sunday, 6 p.m.
  • Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM 2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
  • Season Series (Florida leads 1-0): Panthers 5, Kraken 1 (Dec 3)
  • Last season: Kraken won 2-0
  • All-time regular season series: Seattle leads 2-1-0
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Tuesday vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m.
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