Giving the Panthers Credit for ‘Goal of a Lifetime’

Giving the Panthers Credit for ‘Goal of a Lifetime’
Chris Wassel

Let’s face it: It is not easy being a Florida Panthers fan. Every day is an exercise in attendance this and where is your team going to move that. The employees and management I am sure hear it enough. While some of their ideas have been ridiculous, there is one thing abundantly clear.

At least they are trying everything.

There are some teams out there that do not understand the concept of marketing. Everyone in hockey knows that the New Jersey Devils are so bad at it, their are future books that will be written on it. The Devils have failed in so many ways that one loses count, so looking at Florida and some of their ideas gets me envious.

Does it mean all of these ideas work? Of course not. The Miami area is a tough market to sustain a franchise. The Miami Heat won a couple titles and went to four straight NBA Finals and yet have now slid back into mediocrity and sagging attendance. Miami fans want a winner and gravitate to the winner. It is partly why Florida has had to try so many different ideas, because the Panthers are just starting to win again.

So recently, Florida had a little issue with goalies and injuries. There was the emergency goalie that had to wait for permission and then a back and forth until finally Roberto Luongo came back to save the day. An issue was clearly there. If this happened again, what would Florida do? Naturally they came up with another creative but controversial decision.


Goal Of A Lifetime

This is something so many people wanted to try. Yes, even Linda Cohn (SportsCenter Anchor) donned the pads and tried out. That is how much of an experience it was.

All I know is that honestly the Panthers got grief on this simply because they are the Panthers. There are few other compelling reasons since Florida had some fun with this. There were so many people I know that wanted or want to do something like this with their favorite hockey team.

I am not surprised bigger market teams have not followed suit. This would be fun and a great way to give back to fans who literally would just be too in awe of the experience for words. There were some definite semi-professionals out there but even then, to take shots from professional/former professional NHL players is worth any price of admission.

It is a priceless moment.

It was fun to go through some of the videos from what the Panthers did. You could tell the people enjoyed themselves, and so did the players. That is what matters. It is a positive experience that will pay dividends down the road.  Just look at some of these videos.

One of the first positions I played in hockey was goalie. Not a lot of people know that but I was very fortunate to face a former Florida Panther in a pick up beer league game once. There is kind of a funny part to this.

They ended up in a tie.

I wish I was kidding but hey, that was bound to happen. Think of all the Alumni games that wind up magically tied and now go into overtime or a shootout of some sort. One does not generally expect that in a “competition”. This is definitely an event that could catch on with other teams.


Some Final Words

Florida’s marketing department has to be given more credit than they received. Clearly they have a sense of humor and turned something that was a bit adverse into a positive, fun thing for the fans.

There will always be detractors, but then again that is the business. A negative element always exists. Maybe some fans are just jealous that their teams do the same old, same old all the time. Status quo is a rather boring thing.

People may view what teams do as slapstick or minor league, but the question is “what is your team doing.” Florida is just thinking outside the box and for that they should be commended. Instead most of the media and fans take their normal old shots at a team who probably has a brighter future than we think.

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Chris Wassel

Never stop learning! That has always been my philosophy in life. It applies to hockey writing so well as new challenges are something to strive for. I have been a fantasy hockey writer way back when it wasn’t quite so cool, covered the Devils for a variety of places and still do, have a small hockey site of my own, and even write about all things NHL, AHL, ECHL, KHL, etc. Usually I am first asked who I don’t write for. For Today’s Slapshot, I will be covering the Atlantic Division.

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