Save The Panther
The Rat Story
Florida Panthers Contact Information
The Florida Panthers Hockey Club
* formerly Office Depot Center, and before that National Car Rental Center and originally Broward County Arena
Rec-sport-hockey Florida contact: Eric A. Seiden
WHERE TO SEND FAN MAIL:
Florida Panthers General Information
Media - TV:
Media - Radio [LOCAL]:
The Ticket (790AM) with Randy Moller, Billy Lindsay
Team Colours: Red, Navy Blue, White, and Yellow-Gold
Team Mascot: Stanley C. Panther
PantherDivision: Eastern Conference -- SouthEast Division
First Year: 1993-1994 Inaugural Season
Current Year: 2009-2010 is the Panthers' Sixteenth NHL Season (Would have been one more except for the cancellation of the 04-05 season)
Minor League Affiliates: Florida Everblades (ECHL), Rochester Americans (AHL)
Previous Affiliates: Augusta Lynx (ECHL), Louisville Panthers (AHL), Miami Matadors (ECHL), Tallahassee Tiger Sharks (ECHL), San Antonio Rampage (AHL), Birmingham Bulls (ECHL), Cincinnati Cyclones (IHL), Carolina Monarchs (AHL), Fort Wayne Komets (IHL), and Port Huron Border Cats (UHL), Laredo Bucks (CHL), Texas Wildcatters (ECHL)
To save the beautiful Florida
Panther, an endangered animal with less than
fifty cats still in existence, send your contributions to this not-for profit
Panther National Wildlife Refuge and the Florida
Panther Society. If you find a link is not
working, please e-mail
me and let me know which one is broken.
By far, the most common question I get is "What's the deal with the rats?" To put that to rest, I bring to you the final say in the matter; the real deal on how the rat tradition really began:
It was 1995, coincidentally also the Year of the Rat on the Chinese calendar. Specifically it was 8 October 1995, at approximately 6:30pm in the locker room. With an hour to go before face-off in the home opener against the Calgary Flames, a live rat dashed about the Panthers' locker room.
Scott Mellanby, the future captain, remembers, "Guys were jumping out of the way and screaming. It made a beeline right towards me." So Mellanby, armed with his stick, let his fine-tuned instincts take over. He one-timed the rat with a slap of his stick into the locker room wall. "I one-timed it," said Scott, "and it was dead."
Soon, a tradition would be born. That very night Mellanby scored two goals in a 4-3 win over the Flames. Goalie John Vanbiesbrouck called it a "rat trick." Later that night in the locker room, an as-of-yet still unidentified team member marked the spot on the wall with a circle and inscription "R.I.P. Rat 1." Two games later, on 13 October 1995, the team's third home game which was a 6-2 win against Ottawa, two rubber rats hit the ice after a Panther goal. This was the first recorded rat throwing. The next game the total was 16 and the game after that it was 50. By the time the playoffs began, the per-game rat count exceeded 2,000. The phenomenon became so disruptive, the NHL passed a rule prohibiting such displays the following season. Local fans were undeterred, throwing rats on the ice after every game. The tradition began to fade when the team moved into their new building some years later.
Mellanby quotes courtesy of Michael Mayo from a June 1996 issue of the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.
Significant Panther Information
Special Inaugural (Expansion) Year Statistics
Special Statistics Statistics
(All camp dates are year end dates, so 1993 is the 1992-1993
BARKY: If you're wondering what the deal with the famous Radek Dvorak avec chien picture is, you can now see it for yourself. This is the infamous photo in the 1999-2000 season calendar from the September page. I've scanned it in, cropped it, and added a caption. It was and is much talked about to this day. This photo is not the real reason he was traded, despite rumours to the contrary. (132K image will open in its own window).
ICE DANCERS: Many people have impugned the Ice Dancers (our "cheerleaders") and made comments about them with names ranging from "Pole Cats" to those that a family friendly website can't possibly print. Thanks to Evan we now know you can, indeed, buy them by the hour as many have long suspected. Here's a scan from the Panthers themselves as proof. (221K image will open in its own window).