SBD/July 24, 2014/Franchises

NHL Panthers Hope Newly Signed Goaltender Attracts Cuban-American Population To Hockey

Montoya in '08-09 became the first Cuban-American to play in the NHL
The hope from NHL Panthers execs is that the July 1 signing of G Al Montoya, who in '08-09 became "the first Cuban-American" to play in the NHL, will "help attract some of the approximately 850,000 Cuban-Americans in the area to the BB&T Center," according to Harvey Fialkov of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. Montoya said, "This is a very cool experience, not only on a hockey level, but a bigger level than that." Still, Montoya "knows that his heritage isn't enough to create fan interest." He said, "If you put a winning team on the ice you're going to get fans, so I think the start of it would be a good hockey team and give the people a reason to come into the arena when there's a ton of things going on all the time. Add to that, me being able to go into the Cuban community, bringing in people would just be a bonus" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 7/24). Montoya said, "The Cuban people are very passionate. Once they figure out what the game is like, it's tough to let go" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 7/21).

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE: In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis notes the Panthers yesterday announced via Twitter that the Lady Panthers, the team's cheerleading and ice dancing squad, have "been disbanded." A team spokesperson "declined comment about why the squad was being dropped from the Panthers’ game presentation" after nine years. It was "not revealed whether the Rat Pack energy team will be retained." The Panthers declined to comment on whether the move "was influenced by several lawsuits filed this year by NFL cheerleaders." The team has "made a number of organizational changes in the past year since an ownership change" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 7/24).
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