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The Florida Panthers unveiled their new jersey and logo Thursday at an event at the BB&T Center.
The major changes include a stripe through the middle of the jersey, new shoulder patches, and a crest that shows “a more mature and stoic panther.”
“The idea when we came into Florida and took responsibility for the stewardship of the franchise, was to start anew and create traditions that were unique to this new start,” said owner Vincent Viola, who bought the team in 2013. “I think the logo harkens to the vanguard of courage; the idea that you put a shield on the hockey uniform. It’s something to protect, but you also protect it. We wanted something that began a new tradition of winning and demonstrated courage and selfless dedication to a team pursuit of victory.”
Here is a graphic mockup of the home uniform:
And the away uniform:
The Florida organization has a strong military relationship and Viola, who graduated from West Point, noted out that the new logo took inspiration from the screaming eagle patch from the 101st Airborne.
Said a release by the Panthers:
In order to fully understand the meaning behind the core values that inspired the Panthers’ new look, you will need to go all the way back to the Battle of the Bulge, which took place from Dec. 16, 1944 until Jan. 25, 1945 in the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in Belgium, France, and Luxembourg on the Western Front toward the end of World War II.
A turning point in the war, this last-ditch effort by the Germans to turn the tides of the battle was met with unrelenting courage and sacrifice from the United States, which incurred its greatest causalities of the war during that particular campaign. As a former member of the 101st Airborne Division, Vinnie Viola wanted to pay homage to the selfless actions of those soldiers, choosing a crest inspired by the division’s “Screaming Eagle” patch as the centerpiece of the Panthers’ new uniform. Although the battle has long since ended, the actions of those involved exemplified the lasting idea of what it means to truly give everything for a cause you believe in.
Along with the logo look, the Panthers have a captain’s patch and alternate patch to go on the shoulder, which has a military feel to it.
Though Florida's jerseys have changed over time, the Panthers’ logo has remained mostly untouched from the team’s first years. The goal was to streamline that look while keeping its soul according to John Viola who spearheaded the project.
“The big focus for us was trying to, first and foremost, tie together what does the old look say about the identity of the team and what are we trying to evolve. I think, in 1993, to be a new franchise in an era of colorful and maybe overly detailed artwork, the idea that you had this leaping cat showing its teeth made sense because you have to leap onto the scene and you are the new kid on the block and you’ve got to sort of fight on the playground to make your bones and let ever body know that you’re here and you’re ready to go.”
“We’re 22 years old now. I think we see ourselves as a franchise on the rise and a franchise that is stable and moving towards a really strong future, so we wanted a logo that reflected that maturity and that gravity. I think this cat, when you look at him, he may not have his teeth showing and he may not look aggressive, but when you look at that eye and you look at that posture, you know that you don’t want to mess with this cat. That’s our franchise. We don’t have to go out and yell to make people fear us… We do that on the ice.”
Here is defenseman Aaron Ekblad modeling the jersey:
And forward Reilly Smith:
So with all that in mind, what do you think?
PASS OR FAIL: Florida Panthers new logo and jersey?
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