NHL Teams

How Many NHL Hockey Teams In Florida?

By / 15 May 2023 11:04 AM

Ross Colton cornering with his hockey stick at Amelie Arena in April 2023
Source : instagram

How Many NHL Teams Does Florida Have? There are two NHL Hockey Teams In Florida. They are 1. Tampa Bay Lightning 2. Florida Panthers.

The state has had two NHL teams since the early 1990s. They were founded because two teams were ready to pay the heavy expansion fees to the league.

The two teams are rivals; their matches are known as the Battle of Florida. They face each other for the Nextel Cup Challenge( formerly called Governer's Cup).

They faced off each other for the first time during preseason at the Lakeland Civic Center in September 1993. The teams are located in major metropolitan areas like Tampa and Miami.

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Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning joined Nation Hockey League in 1992. It was named after the city's status as the Lightning Capital of North America.

In the 1980s, NHL announced its expansion; two teams, St. Petersburg-based group and a Tampa-based group fronted by Phil Esposito and his brother Tony bid for a franchise. The Esposito group won it on 6 December 1990.

They made their season debut in 1992 against the Minnesota North Stars. They made it to their first Stanley playoff in their 4th season in 1995-96.

Tampa Bay Lightning team playing hockey at Scotiabank Arena
Source : instagram

The team has been owned by Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment since 2010.

The franchise was named Sports Business Journal's "Sports Team of The Year" twice in 2003 and 2018. They have made several community initiatives throughout Tampa to support a healthy lifestyle.

  • Established Year: 1992
  • Location: Tampa, Florida
  • Arena: Amalie Arena, Downtown Tampa
  • Division:  Atlantic Division
  • Conference: Eastern Conference
  • Colors: Blue, 'Black,' 'White'
  • Head Coach: Jon Cooper
  • Stanley Cup Wins: 3(2004, 2020, and 2021)
  • Canadian Players Count: 11 players
  • Playoff Record: 123-91
  • Record (W-L-T-OTL): 1082-1000-112-164 (2440 points)

Florida Panthers

Florida Panthers started to play for NHL in 1993. The team plays from the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference.

The franchise made its NHL debut in the 1993–94 season, along with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Businessman H. Wayne Huizenga named the franchise.

The team is owned by Sunrise Sports and Entertainment. Bally Sports Florida holds their broadcasting rights.

Anton Lundell carrying hockey stick at Scotiabank Arena in April 13, 2023
Source : instagram

Before the home opener game, former team captain Scott Mellanby came in the hype in the 1995-1996 season for his rat trick. In panic, he encountered a rat in the locker room and pushed it against the wall, making a 4-3 victory with 2 goals that night.

They are affiliated with two minor league teams, the Florida Everblades of the ECHL and the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League.

  • Established Year: 1993
  • Location: Sunrise, Florida( around 40 minutes away from Miami)
  • Arena: FLA Live Arena ( was Miami Arena till 1998)
  • Division: Atlantic Division
  • Conference: Eastern Conference
  • Colors: Red, flat gold, blue, white
  • Head Coach: Paul Maurice
  • Stanley Cup Wins: 0
  • Canadian Players Count: 15 players

Where Does The Florida Panthers Play?

Florida Panthers play at their home arena at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida. It is located just 40 minutes away from the city of Miami.

The arena was founded in 1998 to fit into the fall 1998 Hockey season as National Car Rental Center. It is the first NHL arena to receive WELL Health-Safety Rating in December 2020.

The 872,000-square-foot facility has a seating capacity of 19,250 for hockey. The arena is now the largest in Florida and the second-largest in the Southeast, trailing only the Greensboro Coliseum.

They have 7,200 on-site parking spaces. It was built at the cost of US$185 million with 70 suites.

Exact Location

Florida Panthers Arena location is 1 Panther Parkway, Hockey Rink, Sunrise, FL 33323. It is situated next to Sawgrass Mills.

The place coordinate is 26°9′30″N 80°19′32″W. It is accessible through Port Everglades Expressway, Sawgrass Expressway, North-South Interstate Highway, and the Interstate Highway. 

What city are the Florida Panthers in? The Florida Panthers are in Sunrise City of Florida state.

Florida Panther cheering at FLA Live Arena after making it to the Eastern Conference Finals in May 13, 2023
Source : facebook

When Did The Florida Panthers Join The NHL?

The Florida Panthers joined the NHL in the 1993–94 season. They made their season debut alongside the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

The team set a record for the most points by an expansion team in its inaugural season. In the 2017- 18 seasons, Vegas Golden Knights surpassed the record.

On 10 December 1992, businessman H. Wayne Huizenga obtained an NHL expansion franchise. The same day the Walt Disney Company was given a franchise.

Wayne was already Major League Baseball team Florida Marlins then. He also had a share in the National Football League (NFL)'s Miami Dolphins.

They played at Miami Arena sharing the building with the National Basketball Association's Miami Heat until 1998. The team name was announced in a press conference on 20 April 1993 in Ft. Lauderdale.

In their first match against the Chicago Blackhawks, they had a tie of 4-4. They finished their first regular season with a record of 33-34-17.

The squad has played for the last 29 seasons.

They once appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996 defeating Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Philadelphia Flyers. They faced the Colorado Avalanche with a 4 - 0 loss.

Florida Minor League Hockey Teams

Florida Minor League Hockey Teams are Florida EverbladesOrlando Solar Bears, and Jacksonville Icemen. They are all affiliate with an NHL club and an AHL club.

Florida Everblades

Florida Everblades is headquartered in Estero, Florida. They play in the South Division of the Eastern Conference in the ECHL.

They play in East Coast Hockey League(ECHL) and are affiliated with the Nashville Predators of the NHL and the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL.

Crigh Brush is the CEO of the franchise. He founded the franchise with Peter Karmanos Jr. and Thomas Thewes.

They play home games at Hertz Arena opened in 1998 with 7,181 seating for hockey. The team has been qualified for postseason play in 20 of their 25 seasons winning the title of one of the most successful franchises.

In 2012, they won their first championship. They have won Kelly Cups twice, including the 2011-12 season and 2021-22 season.

Florida Everblades team group chatting during the playoff games in May 2023
Source : instagram

Orlando Solar Bears

Orlando Solar Bears is headquartered in Orlando, Florida. The team plays in the South Division of the ECHL's Eastern Conference.

It is affiliated with the Tampa Bay of the NHL and the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. The team was founded by Joe Haleski, Bob Ohrablo, and Jason Siegel in 2012.

The Bears is owned by RDV Sports, Inc. They play home games at Amway Center located on West Church Street

They took the name and team color of the original Orlando Solar Bears who played in the International Hockey League from 1995 to 2001.

They debuted in the 2012-13 season with Drake Berehowsky as head coach and posted a 20 - 11 - 1 - 4 record on home ice.

In 2015, they hosted the 2015 ECHL All-Star Game at Amway Center. The all-stars won the game by 5-1 in front of a 9288 audience.

Jacksonville Icemen

Jacksonville Icemen is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. The Icemen is an affiliate of the NHL’s New York Rangers and AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack.

They play in the South division of the Eastern Conference. Nick Luukko is the current head coach of the team. The team was previously affiliated with the Winnipeg Jets (NHL) and the Manitoba Moose (AHL).

The club joined the ECHL franchise in February 2017 and debuted in the same year. The ECHL franchise was formerly called the Muskegon Fury from 1992 to 2008.

They play their home games at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Some players are Chris Brown, Parker Gahagen, Easton Brodzinski, and Jake Hamacher.

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