Florida Panthers

Florida Panthers to honor past while looking to future with 25th anniversary logo

The Florida Panthers' John Viola unveils the 25th anniversary logo for the club that will be on team uniforms. The unveiling was at a ceremony in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, June 15, 2018.
The Florida Panthers' John Viola unveils the 25th anniversary logo for the club that will be on team uniforms. The unveiling was at a ceremony in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, June 15, 2018. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

As the Florida Panthers prepare for their 25th anniversary season, they plan to pay respect to their past while also focusing on the franchise's future.

Look no further than the logo created to commemorate the occasion.

The emblem, which was unveiled Friday at a ceremony at Fort Lauderdale's Esplande Park, traces back to the franchise's beginning and pays homage throughout to the Sunshine State.

At the center is a modern version of the Panthers' original secondary logo depicting a crossed palm tree and hockey stick inside the sun. The logo rests upon a large silver "25" to touch on the team's silver anniversary with the Florida state flag serving as a backdrop.

“For us, when Vinnie [Viola] first bought the team [in 2013], there were all these rumors that we were relocating,” Panthers president and CEO Matthew Caldwell said. “Pick your city, whether it was Ottawa or Las Vegas or Seattle. Vinnie said from Day One, 'We’re staying in Florida.'

"We just thought there was no better way to prove that to the public than to put it on our uniform.”

The outside of the crest is a navy blue circle with the words "Florida Panthers Hockey Club" — an ode to the team's original logo — and a silver horizontal stripe that reads "Est. 1993." The logo will be on the right chest of the team's jerseys.

"We wanted to speak to our heritage," said John Viola, who represented Panthers ownership.

That also includes paying respects to two of the faces of the franchise in original owner H. Wayne Huizenga and former president Bill Torrey, who both died earlier this year.

"Not that we would ever wish death or anything, but that did really give us an extra jolt to go all in for the 25th anniversary," Caldwell said. "We want to pay tribute to the founder, Wayne Huizenga, and the forefather, Bill Torrey."

And with the finish the Panthers had to the 2017-18 season, a playoff run this year isn't out of the question.

The Panthers finished the season with 96 points — the third-most in franchise history — and went 25-8 after the All-Star break. They missed the playoffs by one point.

The Panthers should return their young nucleus of All-Star Aleksander Barkov, Vincent Trocheck, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad next season.

"We're super jacked to carry the momentum into next year," Caldwell said. "As an ownership, we couldn't be more excited about the next five years."

The Panthers are the latest South Florida sports team to celebrate an anniversary. The Marlins are playing their 25th anniversary season this year. The Miami Heat just finished its 30th season. The Miami Dolphins celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2016.

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