So South Florida sports are in the doldrums right now each professional team floundering like the soaked sea creatures machined onto their tired uniforms but its OK. Its summer, after all, and though we have reasons to be skeptical about how far the Heat will drift away on autopilot or whether a spiraling DUI will be all Chambers will catch this season, theres always hope that one of these teams of neer-do-wells, Barney Fife wanna-bes, and soon-to-be-traded superstars will toughen up and perform something truly extraordinary.
Hey, stranger things can happen. Just look at the Panthers 1996 Championship Team. This was a group of journeymen and roughshod talent. Just three seasons removed from an unspectacular expansion draft and poised for a climactic .500 finish, the Panthers rode a wave of dime-store plastic rats (and pure, ballsy inspiration) all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. Granted, the gang didnt win it all. But look at the fans folks who had no reason to love hockey as much as they did were suddenly swept up into a sports phenomenon just wacky enough to deserve a heartfelt adversity flick in
Yup, 3 p.m. Saturday at the BankAtlantic Center (One Panther Pkwy., Sunrise) the ΄96 panthers Scott Mellanby, Bill Lindsay, John Vanbiesbrouck, and crew will be suiting up for a reunion scrimmage in honor of The Year of the Rat. (And in hope that such a thing could happen to SoFla sports again.) Call 954-835-PUCK and purchase a seat for $5, or visit www.floridapanthers.com and try to snag some for free.