On Dec. 10, 1992, business man Wayne Huizenga was awarded an NHL franchise. His team, the Florida Panthers, played their first game in 1993, a 4-4 tie with the Chicago Blackhawks. The team's first win came before a crowd of 27,277—a NHL record at the time. It was a 2-0 shutout of their fellow Floridians, the Tamp Bay Lightning. The Panthers would go to finish their premiere season one point below .500. It was one of the best years ever recorded by an expansion team. Two years later, the Panthers reached the Stanley Cup Finals. While the team was swept by the Colorado Avalanche, it was still a remarkable feat for an expansion team to reach the championship series in only their third year of play. The Panthers would qualify for the postseason two out of the next four years but failed to advance past the second round.
In 2009-2010, the Panthers missed the playoffs for the 9th straight season in a row (the streak began in 2000-2001). This earned Florida Panthers hockey the dubious distinction of the longest playoff drought for a team in one city. The record for most consecutive seasons of missing the playoffs, regardless if the team move or not, is 10. The Panthers are also remembered for making one of the worst NHL trades of all-time. In June of 2006, the Panthers traded goalkeeper Roberto Luongo, Lukas Krajicek, and a sixth-round draft pick to the Vancouver Canucks for Todd Bertuzzi, Alex Auld, and Bryan Allen. Luongo became one of the NHL's top goalies while Bertuzzi was traded before the deadline and Auld was cut after the end of the season.
The Cats are aligned in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference. Florida Panthers tickets are sold to the BankAtlantic Center located in Sunrise, Florida, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale. As of 2010, the top scoring Florida Panther of all-time is Olli Jokinen. He also holds the top marks in Panthers franchise history for goals, assists, and points. Other prominent Panthers include Brian Skrudland, Scott Mellaby, Dino Ciccarelli, Pavel Bure, Rob Niedermayer, Radek Dvorak, and Igor Larionov.