Florida Panthers Hockey Club
Established in 1993, the Florida Panthers are the southern-most team in the National Hockey League, the world’s top major ice hockey league.
By 1996, the upstart Panthers took South Florida by storm, reaching the Stanley Cup Final and beginning a craze felt around the region known as “The Year of the Rat”. The Cats captured the hearts of South Florida and unknowingly started a new tradition after forward Scott Mellanby’s infamous locker room run-in with a live rat. In Florida’s 1995-96 opening night game, Mellanby disposed of the rat and scored two goals to lead the Panthers to victory. Now, 20-plus years after Mellanby’s “Rat Trick”, Panthers fans pay homage by littering the ice with rubber rats following each home win at BB&T Center.
The Panthers have seen a number of Hockey Hall of Famers bring their talents to South Florida over the years, including “The Russian Rocket” Pavel Bure as well as future Hall of Famers forward Jaromir Jagr and goaltender Roberto Luongo.
With three-time Stanley Cup champion Head Coach Joel Quenneville behind the bench, superstar captain Aleksander Barkov is prepared to lead a budding group of talented young players ready to take the next step into a new era of hockey in South Florida.