The Panthers’ arena will now be known as the BB&T Center moving forward.

By Luke Dixon, Staff Writer | Follow him on Twitter

Since 1998 the Florida Panthers have played in Sunrise, which is closer to Fort Lauderdale than it is Miami, the major city that many sports fans often associate the NHL’s southern most team.

The building formerly known as the Bank Atlantic Center will now be referred to as the BB&T Center moving forward according to a press release from FloridaPanthers.com.

BB&T, one of the country’s largest banks recently acquired BankAtlantic and will continue the existing partnership for at least 10 more years with Sunrise Sports and Entertainment, the group which owns the Panthers franchise.

Luongo To Panthers Almost Imminent – Sort of… 

Even after his departure to the complete opposite end of the continent, former Panthers All-Star goalie Roberto Luongo has kept a residence in south Florida. His wife and two children are both from the area.

Plus, Luongo spends the majority of offseasons, including this one, in south Florida working out and training before heading north of the border. That has been written countless times, especially since Luongo publicly expressed his displeasure after the Canucks first round playoff exit this past Spring.

We also know the Panthers are on the short list for the All-Star backstop. What had yet to be confirmed was whether Luongo himself shared those thoughts.

(JohnBollwitt, Flickr)

Last week, Luongo was spotted practicing at the Saveology.com IcePlex, the Panthers practice facility. Prior to leaving the facility, He gave a brief interview with a Fort Lauderdale, Fl. based paper, the Sun-Sentinel.

In the interview, Luongo told the Sun-Sentinel returning to the Panthers franchise “makes sense” and that Sunrise is definitely on the list of possible destinations, but would not confirm how high on the list. Chicago and Toronto have been the two most other teams rumored to be a possible landing spot for the Quebec native as well and are both more in need of  No.1 netminder than Florida is.

Although Panthers fans have gotten recent non-labor related news, it is still approximately t-minus five days until the National Hockey League’s infamous commissioner, Gary Bettman, is expected to announce a lockout of the players. It will be the league’s third work stoppage in his tenure. That’s some kind of hattrick, eh commissioner?

About The Author

I've been a sports fan since before I can remember and although different from many of my southern peers, hockey has always been first (at least since 1999). I am a junior at the University of Georgia majoring in digital and broadcast journalism and political science. In addition to The Hockey Writers and Sunbelt Hockey Journal, I have written for UGA's student newspaper, The Red and Black and wrote for my high school paper, Grayson High School's the Green & Gold. I was also a stringer for the Macon Telegraph during the 2012 college football season. I am now a student assistant with Georgia Sports Communications. Outside of school and writing, I play on Georgia's club hockey team, the UGA Ice Dogs in Division III of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.