Florida Panthers owner looking to step down

This is one of those stories that seems to further suggest that the NHL’s expansion into the South was that great of an idea. The Florida Panthers were for sale over last summer, but a deal could not be completed due to league ownership requirements. Now General Partner Alan Cohen is looking to sell a big piece of his share to minority partners Cliff Viner, and Stuart Siegel. Cohen would like to remain on as a minority partner but has no interest in reaming the lead owner.

The reason for that is the Florida Panthers have lost nearly 100 million dollars since Wayne Huizenga sold the team to its current owners in 2001. Before that the Panthers were the model expansion franchise not only of the NHL but of the entire sports world. When this team was founded in 1992 they were able to land no less than 10 players in the expansion draft that became a part of their 1996 Eastern Conference winning team.

Since the new owners came on board the Panthers have been involved in several big time trades that have not exactly gone their way. In 20006 they traded away star goaltender Roberto Luongo. This was such a bad deal for this tem that many believe it is one of the worst trades in the entire history of sport.

Last season the Panthers were only able to draw 640,496 fans for an average of 15,621 for their 41 home games. That was good enough for 24th among the 30 NHL teams. However that number does not speak to the discontent among Panthers fans. This is a fan base so upset with the team’s direction, and the ticket prices, that they collectively hired Super Agent Drew Rosenhaus to represent them.

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