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2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs

The 1996 Florida Panthers Have Been Waiting For …. This



Florida panthers
Former Florida Panthers coach Doug MacLean chats with Ray Sheppard during the 20th anniversary reunion of the 1996 Stanley Cup Final team at BB&T Center in Sunrise on March 12, 2016. // Photo @GeorgeRichards

If the Florida Panthers wanted to channel their brethren from that magical run to the Stanley Cup — affectionately known as the ‘Year of the Rat’ — they do not have far to look.

The guy who disposed of the dead rodent before creating a makeshift memorial to the deceased underneath the tape rack at Miami Arena can usually be found scurrying around their locker room.

Yes, the 2023 Florida Panthers have a direct link to that 1996 team in the form of Scott Tinkler, equipment man extraordinaire.

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“This is just incredible, being part of this group,’’ Tinkler told FHN on Wednesday morning at FLA Live Arena as he took a break from helping load a panel truck headed to the airport.

“It has just been an amazing experience so far. To be part of history was amazing, don’t get me wrong, but I am glad we’re finally starting to move away from that. We’re creating a new history. It is nice to be synonymous with that moment in time, but that was the past and this is the future. We’re working on something special here.”

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