The postseason doesn’t come around Sunrise, Florida too often these days. Of course, by “these days” we mean any time since the Y2K bug was considered a possible threat. Yes, the last time the Panthers made the playoffs was the year 2000.
It was a different time back then. Justin Timberlake was still a member of ‘N Sync, Sony’s Playstation 2 had just hit the stores, the first season of Survivor stormed onto the airwaves, Jeff Skinner was eight years old and the Florida Panthers were in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It was certainly a crazy time.
That year the Panthers were swept in the first round by New Jersey Devils, who would go on to win the Stanley Cup. The last time the Florida Panthers actually won a playoff game was waaaaay back in 1997. They defeated the Rangers 3-0 at home in the first game of round one. They went on to lose the next four games and the series.
So what do Panthers fans do during the playoffs each year? We think we have an idea.
Watch the 1996 Stanley Cup Playoffs on loop, throw rats at the screen
1996 was the one time the Panthers actually won a playoff round. In fact, they won three of them! The Panthers defeated Boston, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh before losing to the Colorado Avalanche in the Finals. Each Panthers goal at home was followed by thousands of plastic rats being thrown on the ice. We have no idea if the Panthers still have this tradition, as home playoff goals aren’t exactly happening in Florida anymore.
Go outside in the sun
Maybe Panthers fans actually don’t want their team to make the playoffs. After all, the mean temperature in Sunrise, Florida in May is 78.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Who wants to stay inside watching hockey in that weather? To the beach!
Get mad at people who insist the city actually does have a hockey team
The Panthers typically have problems selling tickets, so it’s fair to assume that most people in the area may not know that the team even exists. We imagine that quite a few fights take place when someone tries to convince their friends or family members that there is actually a team named “the Florida Panthers” and that they play nearby.
Book plane tickets to Winnipeg, Hamilton or Quebec City early to avoid the rush
You don’t want to end up flying on the red eye, do you?
Wonder aloud why the team stopped wearing red
Sure, the Panthers third jerseys are kind of nice, even if they look very similar to the Penguins (and the Blues, and the Blue Jackets…) but the team’s players look the best when they wear red. Fact: Every time the Panthers have made the playoffs, they’ve worn red jerseys. Given that stat, it’s obvious that switching to blue has been the team’s downfall.
In the summer of 2010 Google “lost” Sunrise, Florida. For at least a month the city didn’t exist on Google Maps and anyone searching for a Sunrise address was directed to Sarasota, Florida. Clearly the NHL is following Google’s lead here, but they’re tweaking in a bit. In the NHL, the Florida Panthers are lost each spring and anyone searching for playoff hockey in the state of Florida is directed to Tampa Bay.
Wait until next year
True Panthers fans will just keep waiting until next year. After all, eventually, at some point someday the Panthers will make the playoffs again, right? Right?