The Florida Panthers are an ice hockey team resided in Miami. They compete in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the NHL.
Founding an NHL team in South Florida seems a bold decision, since the state of palm trees, beaches, and dolphins is not a proper place to play hockey. The first attempts to establish a hockey team in Miami go back to the early 1970s when the World Hockey Association planned to expand. The club got the name “Screaming Eagles,” but because of the lack of money or other reasons, the undertaking ended with nothing. In the early 1990s, the NHL was ready for even crazier actions than expanding to the south. Besides, Florida billionaire Wayne Huizenga, the owner of the largest video rental network in the United States, decided to bring hockey and baseball to Florida and the Miami Dolphins football club, owned by him as well.
In December 1992, Wayne Huizenga was awarded the NHL franchise for $ 50 million. The new team joined the NHL in the 1993-94 season.
Wayne Huizenga named his team the “Florida Panthers,” which was widely criticized by the NHL officials. Everything was clear with “Panthers.” The Florida panther is a North American cougar that lives in pinelands and tropical hardwood hammocks of Florida. Many efforts are underway to conserve the state’s remaining population of 150 panthers that live in Everglades, the famous Florida national park. Wayne Huizenga chose the given name since the panther is a very fast and agile animal. He wanted the team name to reflect the fast and aggressive style of a game.
Yet, there were many discussions about “Florida.” Why did Huizenga decide that his franchise would represent entire Florida, as the Tampa-based team had already joined the NHL? Wayne Huizenga, a Fort Lauderdale resident, tended both of his clubs to represent the entire state. Thus, his baseball club was named “Florida Marlins” (now “Miami Marlins”).
Panthers’ sweaters’ shoulder patches featured an intricate alternative team logo: a red and blue palm tree crossed with a white and blue hockey stick in front of a yellow sun. The sun is a symbol of Florida, officially nicknamed the Sunshine State. An alternative blue sweater appeared in 1998, when the team moved to Fort Lauderdale, or rather, to its suburb of Sunrise, standing on the edge of a huge swamp protected by the state.
A bit later, the alternative logo was changed to a panther leaping while breaking a hockey stick in two.
Now the Florida Panthers history continues without Wayne Huizenga, who sold the team to billionaire Vincent Viola, but remained the owner of the BB&T Center, an indoor arena in Sunrise. It is an incredibly beautiful arena with palm alleys and a balcony on the second tier of the stands (fans even can go out to smoke during matches), but, unfortunately, it is rarely attended by loyal fans due to the misery of the franchise itself.
Meaning and History
The Florida Panthers franchise has only two logos so far, which can be explained by the fact that the club was found not so long ago. In 2016, the team changed the logo with a jumping panther in favor of a military-style emblem depicting the beast’s head. At the same time, the team retained the color scheme and the redesigned old logo, which is now seen on the players’ helmets to symbolize the times’ connection.
1993 – 1999
The team met its inaugural season with the iconic leaping panther logo. The aggressive animal was gold and blue, while its eyes, mouth, and paws were of a bright shade of red. It was depicted with bared fangs and claws.
1999 – 2016
A small logo update took place in 2000. The alterations only included the deeper and saturated color palette. The leaping panther with sharp fangs and claws remained unchanged.
2016 – present
In 2016, the franchise unveiled a new logo, which completely differed from the previous ones. A more mature and stoic panther is placed inside a gold-and-blue shield with a dark blue outline. Its head is turned slightly away, to the left. The golden creature has a white muzzle and bright red eyes. The white-scripted “Florida” wordmark in a red tab with a gold outline crowns the shield. The shield resembles a military badge. Prior this logo was used as Florida Panthers alternative emblem, but instead of “Florida” wordmark, it featured “Panthers” inscription.