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  • Writer's pictureDowntownFTL

The Stanley Cup Final: DowntownFTL is Arriving as a Championship City

May 30, 2023


1996 was the last time the Florida Panthers made the Stanley Cup Final. That was a lifetime ago when the team played at the old Miami Arena.

Legendary Fort Lauderdale entrepreneur and founding owner Wayne Huizenga shortly thereafter moved the club north to Broward County with the hope that the team and city would simultaneously rise to greatness.


And now that vision is coming to life. Twenty-seven years later, that moment has arrived – for the Florida Panthers and DowntownFTL.

Growing Sun Belt hockey haven.

Fort Lauderdale is now a Sun Belt hockey haven with one of the fastest growing downtowns in the United States.


When the Panthers first moved to Broward, we used to be an empty downtown full of untapped potential. DowntownFTL had virtually zero residents. And today we are a vibrant city at the center of the South Florida region in the conversation with other hot cities like Austin and Nashville.

We are 25K residents strong and have seen an 80% increase in population in just a decade. DowntownFTL is now a dynamic 18-hour city reaching new heights with families and young professionals flocking to live in the center of it all.


Our city is starting to get its moment in the sun. Out-of-town trips to DowntownFTL have tripled since 2018. We are an in-demand destination for visitors and the word is out to tourists.


World-class cities are home to title contending teams and championship caliber events.


The NHL is taking over Fort Lauderdale. Building off a successful NHL-All Star Game in

February, this will be the second time in 2023 our city will host one of hockey’s biggest events.


The All-Star Game and the NHL Playoffs will have likely generated around $100 million in economic impact for Fort Lauderdale and more than 10,000 room nights throughout downtown and the beach.


The Panthers are making significant investments in our community. The club will soon open their new practice facility in Holiday Park and complete the revitalization of War Memorial Auditorium, part of more than $300 million of citywide park investments by Fort Lauderdale and its partners.


DowntownFTL: the Heart of Panthers Territory.

Buildings up and down Las Olas are lighting up red on gamenights to celebrate this special time for our community. And City Cats all throughout DowntownFTL are showing their Panther pride.


As Fort Lauderdale prepares to host the Stanley Cup Final , this is a unique moment to celebrate DowntownFTL’s transformation into a world-class city that plays for championships. Go Cats! Bring home the Cup!


Photo Credit 1 (top): Florida Panthers

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