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Panthers president blames schedule for low attendance

New Year's Eve

Hockey fans wear New Year’s tiaras watch as the Florida Panthers warm up before the start of an NHL hockey game against the New York Rangers, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)


The NHL may be aiming to break an attendance record today in Ann Arbor, but the crowds haven’t been so good this season in Sunrise, Florida, where the Panthers are averaging just 14,658 at the BB&T Center.

Team president Michael Yormark thinks the lagging numbers are partly a product of the schedule.

“Having seven games in October hurt us; it’s too much for us,’' Yormark told the Miami Herald. “With the Olympic season, it’s not a balanced schedule. We just had too much inventory in October and I think things are going to catch up. We have a lot of big games left.’'

The product didn’t help either, with the Panthers coming off a last-place finish in 2013 and starting the current season poorly.

There does remain optimism, with new ownership promising improvements through free agency. But like with Phoenix, the rest of the league will be watching Florida as it tries to build some positive buzz in a market that many don’t believe is a legitimate hockey one.