Florida Panthers Stanley Cup Celebration Kicks Off At Elbo Room, Trumps Heat, Marlins, Dolphins

Some arrived early as 6:30 Sunday morning.

By 7:30, you were considered late. By, 9 a.m., there was no more elbow room at the Fort Lauderdale bar known as Elbo Room. Thousands of fans made sure to get their seats for the Florida Panthers parade to celebrate the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

The event concludes a weeklong party for a team that many thought would not last in the NHL when it was conceived in 1993-94. Thirty-one years later, the Panthers can say they hosted the best post-championship celebration in all of South Florida sports.

Not the Marlins. Not the Heat. And definitely not the Dolphins, who last tasted a title in 1974.

Florida Panthers pans pack Elbo Room for Stanley Cup parade

The Panthers have spent most of their tenure playing in anonymity. Fans have always gravitated toward the more established franchises in the area, but winning equates to support.

It started last year when they reached the Finals only to lose to the Las Vegas Knights. It carried over to this season with the Panthers rolling through the postseason before holding off the Edmonton Oilers in seven games.

Thousands of fans are on Fort Lauderdale Beach to celebrate the Florida Panthers' Stanley Cup victory

The party started the next morning, with Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk and others bringing the Stanley Cup to Elbo Room, the oldest bar in Fort Lauderdale. The Cup posed with fans. It took a dip in the Atlantic Ocean. It was even used as a pasta bowl for Panthers legend Robert Luongo.

And Sunday morning is only the beginning of what should be an epic day for South Florida sports.

Shandel Richardson is the publisher of Inside The Heat. He can be reached at shandelrich@gmail.com

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Shandel Richardson


Shandel has covered the NBA since 2010, with previous stops at The Athletic and South Florida Sun-Sentinel.  He has covered six NBA Finals, one Super Bowl, the NCAA basketball tournament. He has also been a beat writer for the Miami Hurricanes and contributed on every major beat in South Florida since 2003, including the Miami Dolphins and Miami Marlins. He can also be read in the Sportsbook Review for gambling coverage from around the NBA. A native of Bloomington, Illinois, Shandel attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He's also worked for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Kansas City Star.  TWITTER: @ShandelRich EMAIL: shandelrich@gmail.com You can subscribe to our YouTube channel here Follow all of our Miami Heat coverage on Facebook here