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Florida Panthers to host NHL Draft by 2016 with new scoreboard

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

A preview of what the new scoreboard in Florida will look like. (FlaPanthers Instagram)
A preview of what the new scoreboard in Florida will look like. (FlaPanthers Instagram)

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The Florida Panthers lobbied Broward County for funds to install a new scoreboard at BB&T Center on Tuesday and were successful. With the new scoreboard the franchise will also get the NHL Entry Draft in a couple of years, CBSSports.com has confirmed.

As part of their pitch to the county for the bond, the Panthers presented a list of events (acquired by the Miami Herald) that would come to the arena with a new scoreboard. At the top of the list was the draft in 2014, 2015 or 2016. A league source confirmed the NHL committed to bringing the draft to Florida in the near future if the new scoreboard is installed.

Since the 2014 draft is already scheduled to take place in Philadelphia, it means Florida will host the draft in either 2015 or 2016. The Panthers held the draft at their arena in Sunrise in 1999.

In addition to getting the draft, the source said there is also a chance the NHL All-Star Game will come to Florida, though the Panthers were given no guarantees. From the sounds of it, though, you can expect that Florida will be the host to the NHL's best relatively soon --certainly after Columbus gets its game.

BB&T Center is owned by Broward County but the Panthers pay for arena maintenance. The expense for a new scoreboard was a bit more than they could handle so they turned to the county for help with the promise of these events as a carrot. There were other events too, such as a Jehova's Witnesses gathering that were said to come only with a new scoreboard.

From a hockey perspective, a new scoreboard was definitely needed. The current one has been there as long as the arena and from NHL standards is well below par.

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