Panthers Look To End Relocation Rumors With Better On-Ice Performance
The Panthers, entering the club's 21st NHL season, are "still trying to make their way" and in many ways is "at a crossroads," according to Greg Cote of the MIAMI HERALD. The club has "struggled for years to win and support has eroded, the deadly combination leading the club’s new ownership, in its one year, to assure season-ticket holders in a recent letter that rumors and speculation about the team relocating were not true." It is "hard to imagine the club’s local future as solid or indefinite unless the winning starts soon and increased interest follows." The Panthers "have not won more games than they lost since the 1999-2000 season; no team’s drought is longer." Attendance "bottomed out at 29th in a 30-team league last season, the 14,177 average amounting to only about" 73% capacity, and paid attendance "was a fraction of that." Meanwhile, the "freebies for sponsors, employees and others have been eliminated," and attendance will be "legitimate but likely significantly lower because of it." Vinnie Viola "heads the fifth different ownership group." Winning "tends to cure such instability" (MIAMI HERALD, 10/8).