The large “XX” painted at center ice in the Panthers’ BB&T Center is a commemoration of the Florida hockey club’s 20th season, but it could have also stood for the number of fans who watched the team’s preseason opener.
Just a small smattering of Floridians were in attendance when the Panthers hosted the Nashville Predators on Monday afternoon, legitimately filling around 1 percent of the nearly 20,000-seat arena.
Though the Sunshine State has never been known as a hockey hotbed, such poor turnouts are not the norm in Sunrise, Fla. In fact, the Panthers, who finished dead last in the Eastern Conference last season, ranked a respectable 17th in attendance percentage, beating out such teams as Buffalo, Washington, Colorado and St. Louis.
But, that doesn’t change the fact that Monday’s turnout was extremely weak.
See if you can count the number of fans in the photo below, taken by FOX Sports Florida’s Erin Brown during the national anthem.
Erin Brown (@rinkside) September 16, 2013