When the NHL released the schedules a few weeks ago for the 2012-2013 season, hockey fans across the country looked for when their favorite team is opening up at home. Many mark down that first home game on their calendars in hopes of being able to buy a ticket for that first game at home. While some cannot go, the ones that do go are always in for a treat. When you walk into the arena for the first home game of the season, you can feel the buzz and electricity going throughout the arena. If you’re lucky enough and your team is raising a banner, then you’re in for an even bigger treat.
For us Panther fans, raising banners isn’t exactly we can call an annual thing. The most recent banner that went up in the rafters in the Bank Atlantic Center was to honor the first president of the Florida Panthers, William Torrey. Other than our Eastern Conference Champions banner, there isn’t exactly much up there other than a couple of flags. But that is all about to change.
On October 13, 2012, the Florida Panthers will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in the home opener for the Panthers. On that night, the Florida Panther fans will finally be able to see the team raise a new banner and this time, it’s a banner that we have never had the opportunity of seeing. When the Florida Panthers get to raise their first ever division championship banner that night, it will be one of the most exciting moments in franchise history.
Normally when the Panthers play their first home game the arena is buzzing with excitement in hopes of the team finally being able to accomplish something. The past decade we have been let down. Year after year we would get excited about the season only to have it ending up in failure. Thankfully, this year is going to be different. After finally witnessing a division championship, every Panther fan, player, executive, and even the guys who shovel up the ice during the timeouts are thrilled. Going into this season, the expectations are higher than ever. This season is shaping up to be a tad bit different from the previous ones. Everyone in South Florida is expecting another run at the cup and anything sort of that will be a failure.
Whoever is lucky enough to walk through the doors of the Bank Atlantic Center on opening night, you better be prepared. If your ears are sensitive, you might want to bring some earplugs. If you work as someone who has to use their voice throughout the day, you might want to call in sick the next day. No matter what the case is, you must be prepared to be as loud as you can possibly be. When the raising of the banner ceremony begins, the Bank Atlantic Center’s roof might just blow off. October 13th, 2012 might just end up being one of the best nights in the history of the Florida Panthers. After a decade of mediocrity, there will finally be positive vibes flowing throughout the arena.
After the ceremony is over and players from both teams step out onto the ice, it might be even louder. Everyone who has ever had anything to do with the Panthers is excited to see what will transpire during the next six months. With a much improved division, the task will certainly not be an easy one. With that being said, the players and the coaching staff are going to be forced to work harder than ever in order to achieve the goal set out before the season starts. Night in and night out the Panthers must go out and give it their all and you fans better be ready, because on opening night, you can expect this team to come out better than ever.
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