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NHL’s Florida Panthers reach franchise’s all-time record low attendance – SportsUntapped.com
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Added October 21st, 2014 by Ian

NHL’s Florida Panthers reach franchise’s all-time record low attendance
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It’s hard for an NHL team to attract fans to games when it’s about 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside, but the Los Angeles Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning don’t seem to have any problem doing it. However, it’s a totally different story for the Florida Panthers, who play in the community of Sunrise, which is close to Fort Lauderdale. The Panthers have been struggling for a few seasons now, both in the team’s performance on the ice and by putting fans in the seats.

Things reached an all-time low for the club on Monday, October 13 though when just 7,311 fans showed up for their 1-0 loss to the Ottawa senators. Television reporters who were at the contest remarked that there were perhaps between just 3,000 and 4,000 people at the BT&T Center. It’s not too surprising that the club doesn’t get larger attendances since they’ve finished in 29th place in the 30-team league for the past two seasons and have made the postseason just one time since 2000.

However, 7,311 is about half of what the team is used to since they averaged 14,525 per game to the rink in the 2013/14 campaign. The rink holds 17,040 for NHL games, but the top level has been cordoned off by a curtain which lowers the capacity to 15,720. The Panthers tried to improve their squad during the recent offseason by adding former Stanley Cup winners Dave Bolland at forward and Willie Mitchell on defence. They also brought back veteran goaltender Roberto Luongo to give them a solid presence in net.

The Panthers managed to pull in 11,419 for their season-opening game on a Saturday night against the New Jersey Devils, but if they can’t boost the attendance the club will continue to lose money season after season and will have to be relocated before it goes bankrupt. Perhaps fans will start attending Panthers games once the NFL season is over and the World Series has been completed. Also, the game against the Senators which attracted just over 7,000 was held on the Columbus Day holiday.

The previous low-attendance mark for the club was back on another holiday, Halloween night of 2007 when 10,063 fans showed up for a game against with the Carolina Hurricanes. It’s believed the lowest attendance in modern-day NHL history was just 324 back on January 22, 1987 when the Calgary Flames visited the New Jersey Devils. However, the low attendance was due to a blizzard in the New York area.

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