There Were More Players than Fans at the Panthers-Predators Preseason Game on Monday Afternoon (Pics)
The Florida Panthers’ attendance last season was actually pretty good. The team ranked 22nd in the league with 16,991 fans per game, but 17th in capacity with 99.7%. Considering the prolonged labor dispute that almost cancelled the season and the fact that the Panthers finished dead last in the Eastern Conference, that was actually pretty good.
Still, most observers will tell you that, despite the presence of some real die-hards, suburban Sunrise, Florida, is not exactly what you would call a “hockey town.” It’s more of a “retired people who like boats” kind of town. So scheduling a preseason game at 2:30 P.M. in the afternoon? That probably was not a great idea.
Nevertheless, that’s what they did. On Monday the Preds and Panthers played a baseball-style split-squad double header. The second game began at 7:07 and had about 6,000 fans in attendance, which is respectable. However, the first game began at 2:36 P.M., and although no official attendance figures were released, it looks like there were maybe 30 to 40 people scattered around the arena.
Check it out:
Obviously, that was a really ridiculous start time. But you put this team in Hamilton, Ontario, and you’d get that many people to show up at a press conference to hear Tim Thomas talk about how he put new laces on his skates.