NHL Panthers To Pay For $45M War Memorial Auditorium Renovation
A $45M renovation is coming to the War Memorial Auditorium in Ft. Lauderdale, and the NHL Panthers' nonprofit arm -- the War Memorial Benefit Corporation -- will "foot the bill for a major overhaul" of the venue that opened in 1950, according to Susannah Bryan of the South Florida SUN SENTINEL. The city of Ft. Lauderdale is "kicking in an $800,000 grant and leasing the 7-acre parcel at $1 a year for 50 years." In exchange, the Panthers "plan to renovate" War Memorial and a "new building to the east will feature two indoor ice rinks." One will "become the team's primary practice spot and the other will be open year-round to youth hockey leagues and public skates." The project will "likely break ground in March" and "open by the summer" of '21. Panthers COO and War Memorial Benefit Corporation Dir Sean McCaffrey said that the southern rink will be "reserved for Panthers practice sessions about 75 times a year." Those sessions will be "open to fans." The Panthers "currently practice in the Florida Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs." That "will change when they start using the War Memorial rink, likely" in September '21. When the team "isn't using it, the rink will be available for use by the public." McCaffrey said that the Panthers will "still lease the rink in Coral Springs but it will take on more of a focus on youth hockey" (South Florida SUN SENTINEL, 10/18).