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View From the Top

BacPanthers owner Alan Cohen called me this morning, a little upset with my characterization of his hockey organization as greedy.

Cohen made it clear that the ticket hike for premium games was his idea, a plan to try and get fans of other teams to help pay for the Panthers' roster and offset some expenses.

To paraphrase, he says it's hard to make a "money grab" when the team is losing money.

"I have not raised ticket prices and have made sure our games are affordable,'' Cohen said. "But when fans of the Rangers, Canadians, Maple Leafs, whatever, come down here and fill our building, we should get a little more for it. This is being done to protect our ticket holders, our fans. Our fans can call up right now and buy a Fathers' Day package and not pay the extra money. Our tickets are a great deal and people know this.''

Cohen said he understands how some fans may be upset about paying the extra money to see the big-name teams, but adds mini-ticket plans are affordable, and fans can save money by buying those. And, he adds, there are plenty of other games on the schedule in which the extra $25 won't be added to ticket prices.

"We have people coming in here chanting 'Lets Go Rangers,' fans rooting for the Canadiens,'' Cohen said. "Let them pay for it. They are still going to snap up every ticket we have. We could have sold 30,000 tickets [for Montreal] last year.''

And like I wrote in my previous post, many fans of these teams are going to shell out the big bucks and be fine with it. Met a guy in Montreal who paid $700 for a ticket to see the Panthers on a Tuesday night. Guys like that will save money by flying down to Florida and picking up tickets at The Bank.

Your average Joe, however, is the one getting caught. Want to see Sidney Crosby live and in person? Better buy some kind of ticket plan now or you'll pay for it later. Still cheaper than seeing him live in Pittsburgh though.

Trust me, there are a lot of things the Panthers do that I don't much care for, this $25 surcharge being one of them. The constant ads, this game brought to you by Miramar Mike's Exterminating, etc. But I do understand this is how the Panthers feel they can survive in this very un-traditional hockey market.

At least the team is here, looking to continue to put down roots and not pack up moving vans.

Cohen isn't one of the owners calling Canada's Jim Basille seeing if he wants to buy the franchise and move it to Hamilton or Winnipeg or some other market north of Detroit. "We're losing money and I don't complain,'' Cohen said. "I just deal with it and hope it gets better in the future.''

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so that means that cohen does read this blog.....
so cohen please, whatever it takes, don't trade jokinen.....
find him a solid winger please.... a guy like mike ryder or miroslav satan which are guys looking for a bounce-back season. If you think about it ryder was not paired with a top center and the same goes for miro satan who played with a DECENT #2 center mike comrie for a large part of the season.

i agree wiith that guy

Well, if Mr. Cohen really want to have a franchise succeed here in South Florida he needs to ice a winning team. Please, this isn't really all that hard a thing to do. Just get team that makes the playoffs every now and then. Hell no one will even care if they don't make it past the first round!! He can then raise ALL the ticket prices by $25.

Yes, this town loves a winner and there are plenty of opportunities to be a winner in the NHL (8 playoff spots per conference).

The Panthers haven't made the playoffs in 7 consecutive seasons. However, you'll see the seats inside the BAC fill up real quickly once the Cats finally do return to the playoffs. Hey, then Mr. Cohen will raise the price for all seats (both individual and season seat holders).

So, this is the year we'll return to the playoffs...if not, Ollie and JayBo will definitely be gone. At least we'll know their destination by February of 2009.

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