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Show up in Halloween costume, see Panthers for free (if you’re a kid)

Jason Garrison

For an NHL team that already struggles at the gate, a Monday night home game against a less-than-flashy opponent can be a tough sell. When said Monday also happens to be Halloween, the challenge becomes even mightier.

The Florida Panthers are facing the above predicament Monday when they’re scheduled to host the Winnipeg Jets at the BankAtlantic Center.

The marketing department’s solution? Free admission to kids, 12 and under, who show up dressed in a Halloween costume.

(Be funny if one of the kids dressed up as an empty seat. “You’re a real jerk, kid.”)

Good on the Panthers though. Nothing wrong with providing families an affordable night out. Besides, the team’s playing solid hockey under new coach Kevin Dineen. The players deserve better crowds than they’ve been getting. So far the club is averaging just 16,191 per game, 20th in the NHL.

Not that the fans have had a ton of chances to show up and cheer the team on. Seven of Florida’s first 10 games have been played on the road.

The Panthers (6-4-0) are coming off a 3-2 win yesterday in Buffalo, the victory highlighted by two late third-period goals by offseason addition Tomas Fleischmann and vastly underrated defenseman Jason Garrison.

“We’re playing good hockey,” said goalie Jose Theodore. “The guys are really dedicated to the little details, and to playing real well.”