We knew that South Florida hockey crowds were bad, but not THIS bad.
On Monday night, Sun Media reporter Bruce Garrioch tweeted some stunning photos from the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., where the Florida Panthers were taking on the Ottawa Senators.
The crowd, if you can call it that, was scattered so thin no one was seated behind the Senators' bench.
The game drew an estimated 7,311 people to fill 19,250 seats – the least the Panthers have ever brought to a home game, Garrioch wrote in The Ottawa Sun.
The second-lowest attendance record was 10,063 people, for a game against the Carolina Hurricanes in 2007.
The team tried to sugarcoat the attendance on its Twitter account.
Loyalty is best earned on the back of virtue, honor and integrity. Together, we climb. Thanks to all who came. #FlaPanthers— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) October 14, 2014
The sparse attendance comes amid speculation the Panthers could be relocated, The Associated Press reported.
Club owners said last month the team has lost money for over 10 years. But the Panthers aren't the only team in the Miami area with difficulty attracting fans.
AP noted that the Miami Marlins generally rank near the bottom of Major League Baseball in terms of attendance, while the NBA's Miami Heat also reduced capacity in their stadium some years back.
The same is not true of the Tampa Bay Lightning in central Florida, where attendance averaged 96.9 per cent in the 2013-14 season, according to ESPN.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has repeatedly said there are no plans for the league to expand or relocate teams in the near future.
But The National Post noted that Quebec, Toronto, Saskatoon, Las Vegas and Seattle have been floated as potential homes for NHL clubs.
Despite no official plans to move or expand, tell us where you'd like to see a new NHL team:
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