I haven’t always been a Florida Panthers fan, but I can say that becoming one has been the best thing that’s happened to me in my life thus far. I grew up in Indiana, a few hours from Detroit. My dad has always been a big Wings fan, so naturally he introduced me to hockey and the Wings. My family and I always used go to games and support the local minor league hockey team and I loved it. I still remember many things that happened at those games, today.
Unfortunately we moved to Florida for family reasons and hockey pretty much disappeared for awhile. It wasn’t until my parents divorced and my dad moved to South Florida that hockey came back into my life. I see my dad on the weekends since he lives about 2 and a half hours away from me, and one weekend he asked if I wanted to go see the Florida Panthers play. I wasn’t up to date on who was who in hockey and what teams were from where, but I gladly said yes. As soon as we got to the Bank Atlantic Center my love for the game pretty much came rushing back. I loved the cool air, the sound of the skates on the ice and the pucks hitting the sticks as they passed from player to player. I loved the crowd of fans that cheered for their team when the goal horn went off. It was like a big family that I wanted to be a part of …
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After that game I was obsessed with wanting to go to as many as I could. It became something my dad and I did together, sort of like a bonding time. Who knew that my dad and I, his teenage daughter, would end up bonding over hockey? I learned all of the player’s names and numbers, and the Panthers became my team. I remember getting my first Panthers shirt so I could wear it to the games and I was so excited to become one of the fans. The Panthers have done so much for me, they’ve given me such great memories that I will never forget and I’ve met some really great people/fans as well.
I haven’t been there since the start, but I look forward to being a Panthers fan until the end. Through ups and downs, wins or loses, and now rebuilding, I can say with absolute pride that I am a Florida Panthers fan, and I always will be.
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