July 13, 2007
Dave Joseph / floridapanthers.com
Jersey Unveiling At Reunion Game
The Panthers will look toward the future while acknowledging its past July 28 at BankAtlantic Center when they unveil their new jersey while celebrating its 1996 Stanley Cup team.
Fans attending the ‘Year of the Rat’ alumni game beginning at 2 p.m., will be the first to not only witness the unveiling of the Panthers new jersey but season seat holders will be the first to order the new item.
Presale order forms for season seat holders will be available July 29 at FloridaPanthers.com. Presale forms will be available to the general public beginning Sept. 1. The jersey will be available at Pantherland Sept. 14 at BankAtlantic Center.
The new jersey features a new cut and lightweight advanced materials to provide increased range of motion, ventilation, durability and comfort. The jersey is also treated with new moisture, repellent technology.
Along with the unveiling of the new jersey, fans will watch favorites like John Vanbiesbrouck, Scott Mellanby, Brian Skrudland, Bill Lindsay, Tom Fitzgerald and Paul Laus from the ‘Year of the Rat’ team play an exhibition game against Panther alumni.
The ’96 Panthers, playing in only in third NHL season, were a longshot to make the playoffs. But before a home game in October of ’95 at the Miami Arena, Scott Mellanby one-timed a rat off the wall after the creature had found its way into the locker room. After Mellanby scored two goals to help the Panthers to a 4-3 victory over Calgary, goalie John Vanbiesbrouck credited Mellanby with scoring the “Rat Trick.”
And the Year of the Rat was born.
After each Panther goal the remainder of the season, fans would shower the ice with toy rats. A few turned into a dozen, and a dozen turned into thousands. By the time the Panthers found their way into the playoffs, the ice was flooded with rats and a local tradition turned into a national sensation.
The Panthers beatBoston, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to earn the Eastern Conference championship before losing to Colorado in the Stanley Cup finals.
Panther alumni members participating in the game include Val Bure, Peter Worrell, Jesse Belanger and Trevor Kidd.