Panthers Promise Free Tickets If Team Misses Playoffs

The last time the Florida Panthers qualified for the postseason, Pavel Bure was the best goal-scorer in the league, Alex Rodriguez was still clean and pure, Sidney Crosby was 12 years old, and Britney Spears' Baby One More Time was a No. 1 album. What a strange time that was. I bet gas only cost a buck, too.

Needless to say, it's been a long time since the Panthers and playoff hockey were mentioned in the same sentence. Despite this, Florida management is evidently quite confident in its ability to break a nine-year playoff drought, and it's even willing to put its money where its mouth is.

The Panthers are now offering a four-game ticket plan called "The Panthers Promise Plan," which is a package of tickets for upcoming games this season.

The key, of course, is if the Panthers fail to qualify for the playoffs (failing to keep their promise) you get free tickets to four games next season.

According to the team's website, the restrictions on the free tickets are as follows:

- If Team Does Not Make Playoffs Then
4 Free Tickets During 2009-10 Season (In Games Oct-Dec. *Subject To Availability. Excludes Blackout Games)

I have no idea what a "blackout game" is, and it's interesting that the offer is only good for games October-December. My guess is they're confident the team will still be a playoff contender come January, 2010, and expect fans to shell out actual money for tickets.

According George Martin of the Miami-Herald, head coach Pete DeBoer was one of the driving forces behind the promotion:

"I thought it was important to let fans know, to promise them, that our team will do everything possible to be successful on the ice over the next 31 games. We've made no secret of our goal to make the playoffs this year, and we want fans to get excited and support us during the stretch run."

Currently, the Panthers hold the No. 9 spot in the Eastern Conference, one point behind Southeast Division rival Carolina for the final playoff spot. They also have a one-point advantage over Pittsburgh. It's also important to note that the Panthers have games-in-hand on both teams.

Plus, it's probably a safe bet that defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, an unrestricted free agent following this season, is officially off the market for the March 4 trade deadline.

Panthers Promise Free Tickets If Team Misses Playoffs originally appeared on NHL FanHouse on Tue, 10 Feb 2009 07:00:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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