What Hockey Teams Are in Florida?
Florida may be best known for its sunny beaches and warm weather, but it is also home to several professional ice hockey teams. With a passionate fanbase and a growing presence in the sport, Florida has become a hockey hub in the southeastern United States. In this article, we will explore the hockey teams that call Florida home and provide some frequently asked questions about the sport in the Sunshine State.
1. Florida Panthers:
The Florida Panthers are a National Hockey League (NHL) team based in Sunrise, Florida. Established in 1993, the Panthers have had their fair share of ups and downs over the years. However, they have managed to build a loyal fanbase and have made several playoff appearances. The Panthers play their home games at the BB&T Center, which has a seating capacity of over 19,000.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning:
The Tampa Bay Lightning, another NHL team, is based in Tampa, Florida. Founded in 1992, the Lightning quickly found success and have won the Stanley Cup championship twice in their history. With star players like Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman, the Lightning have become one of the top teams in the NHL. They play their home games at the Amalie Arena, which can hold more than 20,000 spectators.
3. Florida Everblades:
The Florida Everblades are a minor league professional team competing in the ECHL (formerly known as the East Coast Hockey League). Based in Estero, Florida, the Everblades have been a part of the community since 1998. They have had success in the league, winning the Kelly Cup in 2012. The Everblades play their home games at Hertz Arena, which has a capacity of around 7,200.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Q: How did ice hockey gain popularity in Florida?
A: While ice hockey may seem out of place in a warm climate like Florida, the sport’s popularity has grown steadily over the years. The expansion of NHL teams to the state, combined with increased youth and recreational programs, has contributed to the sport’s growth. Additionally, many northern transplants who moved to Florida brought their love for hockey with them.
Q: Are there any college hockey teams in Florida?
A: Currently, there are no NCAA Division I men’s hockey teams in Florida. However, there are a few club teams competing in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), such as the University of Florida and Florida Gulf Coast University.
Q: Do the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning have a rivalry?
A: Yes, the Panthers and Lightning have developed a rivalry over the years. Their proximity and frequent matchups have created intense and competitive games between the two teams. Their meetings are often referred to as the “Battle of Florida.”
Q: Are there any professional women’s hockey teams in Florida?
A: Currently, there are no professional women’s hockey teams in Florida. However, there are women’s recreational leagues and youth programs that provide opportunities for female players to participate in the sport.
Q: Can you ice skate in Florida?
A: Yes, despite the warm climate, there are ice skating rinks in Florida where people can enjoy ice sports like hockey and figure skating. Several cities have indoor ice rinks that offer public skating sessions and hockey programs.
In conclusion, Florida is home to multiple hockey teams that cater to both professional and minor league levels. The Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning represent the state in the NHL, while the Florida Everblades compete in the ECHL. With a growing fanbase and increased interest in the sport, hockey continues to thrive in the Sunshine State.