After 12 seasons, seven coaching changes, seven general manager changes including countless bad trades and draft picks, the Florida Panthers have finally made the playoffs! They also clinched their first Southeast Division crown, which will earn them a nice banner to hang from the rafters at the Bank Atlantic Center. The best thing about clinching the division title is that the Panthers did it by winning their final home game of the season, beating the Carolina Hurricanes in front of a joyous and loud Bank Atlantic Center crowd of 19,000 plus.
After the game you could see the jubilation of the faithful fans being displayed in numerous ways as chants of “Let’s go Panthers” were sung outside of Pantherland the team store. Outside of the building, in arena announcer Bill Murphy and his band “Nobody’s Fault”, rocked the crowd as they continued the party like atmosphere. Horns were honking, people were cheering, celebrating, and breathing a big sigh of relief. Yes, South Florida, the drought is over!
Making the playoffs means different things to different people, and since it had been such a long time since the Panthers made it, I decided to ask our faithful readers here at the Rat Trick, “What Making The Playoffs Means To You”. While I would love to have used them all, but here are some of the best.
CaitlinChris: I love that they made the playoffs! I want them to win the division too! The Caps have had too many division titles! It’s the Panthers turn! Wooo playoffs! Wooo division champs! I am so happy for this team, I have no words.
Holly: Everyone would laugh and wonder why I kept renewing my season tix the past 12 years, this year is the reason why!
Jorge: Sporting the RED again! No more seeing former cats in the playoffs or even holding the cup. It’s our turn!! Shut the world up! Playoffs :,)
Andy Amstutz: I am still in shock. I’ve watched years of hockey that have meant nothing, but I’ve never strayed from my team. Making the playoffs has made the years of waiting all worth it. Just knowing that my team is finally in has to be one of the best feelings ever.
Chris Pelosi: Making the playoffs is like finding out you just got into an extremely good college, you in, now just make something of it and get a cup!
Josh Appel: Goosebumps. I couldnt believe it. Im only 17, but this was top 5 happiest moments of my life being there to experience that game. Seeing the jumbotron and ribbon boards around the arena say “Southeast Division Champions” was surreal. Never seen anything like it.
Donna Schaneen: I feel like I’m in high school again!!!
Tracy Calvino: I’ve been following Panthers from the start so I thought I was excited… Then saw excited my daughter was and that made it even better! To be able to share this incredible season with her has been amazing and when I told her we had playoff tix you wouldve thought it was the lottery! I love the Panthers almost as much as I love her! ;).
And finally this last one from Jessica Metz: The first Panther game I went to I was 11 years old. I fell in love instantly. Tried to go to as many games as I could, win or lose I wanted to be there. I have been through the hardships the ups and downs. Now at 22 I can finally see my cats go to playoffs not just as a team but as division champions. I finally don’t have to cheer for a team I’m not proud of. I have fought for the panthers for so long and now I don’t Have to they have fought for themselves. Words cannot describe how proud I am of them. Not just the team but the staff behind them as well. I will be a Florida Panther fan until the day I die, with or without a Stanley cup in our name. But hopefully by that time we will have one :)
As for me, this has been a long time coming. I’ve suffered through all the bad times with the rest of you, and couldn’t be more proud, more happy, and more excited about finally getting a chance to see playoff hockey again here in South Florida. The energy that will be inside the Bank Atlantic Center will add a special flavor to the games, that many of you may not have ever felt. The playoffs are fun, exciting, and well worth the price of admission. I can’t wait to see a full arena when we open against the New Jersey Devils later this week.
Lastly I want to take a moment to thank everyone who reads this website every day. Your loyalty is greatly appreciated, and we hope that you enjoy what we do. We don’t expect you to agree with everything we say, but that’s what makes this interesting. I also want to say that because of this site, I’ve met some great people this season, some of which have become very good friends. The staff, and the people that I’ve met on Twitter, our Road Watches, and Tweetups make times like this enjoyable. Thank you again. See you Friday night!
Be loud, be proud, and believe red!
Thanks for reading. We welcome your comments and opinions.
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