Select Page

History of the Florida Panthers

The Florida Panthers, based in Sunrise, Florida, are a professional ice hockey team that joined the National Hockey League (NHL) as an expansion franchise in 1993. The team was part of the NHL’s expansion into non-traditional hockey markets, aiming to bring the sport to new regions in the United States. The Panthers became the 26th team in the league and played their inaugural season in 1993-1994. In their early years, the Panthers quickly gained attention by making an impressive run in the playoffs. In just their third season, the 1995-1996 campaign, the Panthers advanced to the Stanley Cup Final. Led by head coach Doug MacLean and captain Scott Mellanby, the team had a memorable playoff run, defeating formidable opponents like the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers before eventually falling to the Colorado Avalanche in the Final. Although the Panthers have faced their fair share of challenges and rebuilding periods, they have continued to be a competitive presence in the NHL. Over the years, the team has seen talented players come through its ranks, including the likes of Pavel Bure, Roberto Luongo, and Aleksander Barkov. The Panthers have achieved success in the regular season, qualifying for the playoffs multiple times and consistently striving to become a championship contender. With a dedicated fan base and an organization committed to building a winning culture, the Florida Panthers continue to make their mark on the NHL.


The Stanley Cup

Often referred to as the Holy Grail of ice hockey, has a rich and storied history that dates back to the late 19th century. The trophy was named after Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada, who donated it in 1892 as a challenge cup to be awarded to the top amateur hockey team in Canada. Originally, the Cup was intended for amateur teams, but in 1906, it became the championship trophy for professional ice hockey as well. The first Stanley Cup champions were the Montreal Hockey Club in 1893. Over the years, the Cup’s format evolved, and it became a symbol of intense competition and national pride. In 1917, the National Hockey League (NHL) was formed, and the Stanley Cup became the championship trophy for the league. The NHL’s dominance in North American ice hockey solidified the Cup’s reputation as the ultimate prize in the sport. One of the most iconic traditions associated with the Stanley Cup is the tradition of players and team personnel taking turns hoisting the trophy above their heads after winning the championship. This custom began in the early 20th century and continues to this day, making the Cup a symbol of triumph and celebration. The Cup itself has undergone several modifications and redesigns, but its essence and historical significance remain unaltered, representing the passion, skill, and dedication of the teams that have competed for it over more than a century of hockey history.

Playoff history of the Florida Panthers

The Florida Panthers, since their inception in 1993, have had a mixed playoff history. The team has qualified for the playoffs on multiple occasions but has faced challenges in advancing deep into the postseason. In their early years, the Panthers experienced immediate success, reaching the Stanley Cup Final in just their third season in 1996. Led by a talented roster and strong goaltending from John Vanbiesbrouck, the Panthers made an impressive playoff run, capturing the hearts of fans and making a lasting impact on the franchise’s history. However, following their Stanley Cup Final appearance, the Panthers faced a period of inconsistency and struggled to maintain their playoff momentum. They endured several seasons of missing the playoffs before returning to the postseason in 2000. In recent years, the team has made strides in reestablishing themselves as a playoff contender. Led by a new generation of talented players, including Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, the Panthers have qualified for the playoffs multiple times, showcasing their potential and the growth of the organization. While playoff success has eluded the Panthers in recent years, the team has shown promise and competitiveness. Their participation in the playoffs has provided valuable experience for their young core, setting the stage for future success. With a strong foundation and a commitment to building a winning culture, the Florida Panthers remain determined to make deeper playoff runs and contend for the coveted Stanley Cup in the years to come.

Florida Panthers player history

The Florida Panthers have had a number of talented players who have made significant contributions to the team’s history. While opinions may vary on the greatest players, here are some notable individuals who have left a lasting impact on the Panthers:

  1. Pavel Bure – Known as “The Russian Rocket,” Bure is widely regarded as one of the most dynamic and electrifying forwards in NHL history. He played for the Panthers from 1999 to 2002 and was a prolific goal scorer, winning the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy twice during his tenure with the team.
  2. Roberto Luongo – Luongo is arguably the greatest goaltender in Panthers history. He played for the team in two separate stints, from 2000 to 2006 and then again from 2014 to 2019. Luongo holds numerous franchise records, including most wins and shutouts. His leadership, skill, and dedication to the Panthers made him a beloved figure among fans.
  3. Aleksander Barkov – Currently serving as the Panthers’ captain, Barkov has emerged as one of the league’s premier two-way centers. He has consistently been among the team’s top scorers and is known for his exceptional playmaking abilities and defensive prowess. Barkov’s impact on the Panthers has been significant, earning him recognition as one of the franchise’s all-time greats.

Other notable players in Panthers history include Scott Mellanby, John Vanbiesbrouck, Olli Jokinen, and Jonathan Huberdeau. These players have made significant contributions to the Panthers’ success and have left a lasting legacy in the team’s history.

The rats are back!

The tradition of throwing rats onto the ice during Florida Panthers games dates back to the team’s remarkable playoff run in the 1995-1996 season. During that season, the Panthers made an unexpected and inspiring journey to the Stanley Cup Final. The tradition of throwing rats was born out of a unique incident involving Panthers forward Scott Mellanby. During a game in the Panthers’ inaugural season, Mellanby spotted a rat in the team’s dressing room. In an effort to eliminate it, he took his stick and scored two goals in that game. The following day, a local journalist coined the term “Rat Trick” to describe Mellanby’s achievement. The term stuck and became associated with the Panthers. When the playoffs arrived in 1996, fans began bringing plastic toy rats to the games. After a Panthers goal, the crowd would litter the ice with the rats in celebration. The tradition gained momentum, and the ice often needed to be cleared of hundreds or even thousands of plastic rats. The rats became a symbol of good luck and support for the team. The tradition of throwing rats continued to be embraced by Panthers fans, and even after the NHL attempted to crack down on the practice, the fans found creative ways to keep the tradition alive. In subsequent seasons, the Panthers implemented certain rules to manage the rat-throwing tradition, such as only allowing rats to be thrown after the game’s conclusion. The rat tradition remains an iconic part of Florida Panthers history, representing the team’s incredible playoff run and the enthusiasm and passion of the fans.


2023 Stanley Cup Schedule

June 3rd – 8 pm at Vegas

June 5th – 8 pm at Vegas

June 8th – 8 pm vs Vegas

June 10th – 8 pm vs Vegas

June 13th – 8 pm at Vegas

June 16th – 8 pm vs Vegas

June 19th – 8 pm at Vegas

Top Playoff Points

  • Matthew Tkachuk – 21
  • Carter Verhaeghe – 15
  • Aleksander Barkov – 14
  • Sam Bennett – 11
  • Sam Reinhart – 11
  • Anthony Duclair – 9
  • Brandon Montour – 9
  • Anton Lundell – 7
  • Aaron Ekblad – 6
  • Gustav Forsling – 6

South Florida Media Comments

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Caitlin Clark On SNL’s Weekend Update

Caitlin Clark On SNL’s Weekend Update

Caitlin Clark's SNL Debut A Slam Dunk Before the WNBA Draft In a move that turned heads and raised eyebrows, Caitlin Clark, the collegiate basketball prodigy, made a surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update. Sporting a sleek letterman jacket, Clark...

Miami Marlins vs Atlanta Braves: Weekend Series Review

Miami Marlins vs Atlanta Braves: Weekend Series Review

Atlanta Braves 8-1 Win Over the Miami Marlins In the series opener Friday night on April 12th against the Miami Marlins, the Atlanta Braves showcased a dominant performance both on the mound and at the plate. Max Fried, the Braves' pitcher, delivered a stellar...

What You Need to Know About South Florida’s Iguanas

What You Need to Know About South Florida’s Iguanas

Unveiling the Mysteries of Iguanas of South Florida In the lush and tropical paradise of South Florida, where palm trees sway in the gentle breeze and the sun casts its warm glow upon the vibrant landscape, a curious creature has captured the attention of residents...

Demystifying the NBA Play-In Tournament

Demystifying the NBA Play-In Tournament

A Gateway to Playoff Glory In the ever-evolving landscape of the NBA, where competition is fierce and the pursuit of championship glory relentless, innovation becomes the hallmark of progress. Enter the NBA Play-In Tournament, a thrilling addition to the league's...