What Hockey Team Is in Florida? (NHL in the Sunshine State)

Florida: The Sunshine State…

Known for its beaches and…

Ice hockey?

How does a tropical region have ice hockey?

Well, believe it or not—professional ice hockey has been in Florida for three decades.

In this article, we’ll show you what team is in Florida, where they play, and how you can watch them.

Let’s dive in.

Here’s What Hockey Team Is In Florida:

Florida actually has two professional ice hockey teams as a part of the NHL. They have the Florida Panthers located just outside Miami in the city of Sunrise. And they have the Tampa Bay Lightning based in Tampa. They’re both part of the Atlantic division in the National Hockey League.

What Are the Two Florida Hockey Teams?

Florida is home to a number of hockey teams. However, there are two NHL hockey teams in the Sunshine State.

1. Florida Panthers

Introduced into the NHL in the 1993-94 season, they’re located in Sunrise, FL. They play at the FLA Live Arena just outside of Miami.

2. Tampa Bay Lightning

Introduced into the NHL in the 1992-93 seasons, they’re located in Tampa, FL. They play at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.

Why Does Florida Have Two NHL Teams?

Did you know that Florida has had two NHL ice hockey teams since the early 90s.

The Tampa Bay Lightning had their inaugural season in 1992-1993 and the Florida Panthers joined the league in 1993-1994.

So, why does Florida have two NHL teams, let alone one?

It may seem rather odd considering the climate isn’t exactly prime territory to place ice hockey. Ice hockey wasn’t that big in Florida at the time of expansion and it would be an uphill battle to grow the game when competing against other major year-round sports like football, baseball, and basketball.

The main reason Florida gained two teams is because there were ownership groups based in Florida that were willing to fund the teams.

This meant the NHL would be getting paid big time expansion fees from ownership groups early on which would add a ton of money into the NHL.

From a business perspective, the NHL gained a ton of money early. From the new ownership in Florida, they saw it as a business opportunity. And, early on, they considered these expansion fees to be an investment.

Over the past thirty years (since the early 90s), the NHL has pursued an aggressive strategy to move into large US markets.

Since the early NHL days of the “Original Six” (Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings), the demographics of the US have shifted south.

Major metropolitan areas like Miami and Tampa have become major US markets and a great business opportunity for sports teams. 

The NHL moved there for the same reasons the NBA, NFL, and MLB moved there: business. They had the population and the television broadcasting capabilities to make it worth it.

Where Do the NHL Teams Play in Florida?

The NHL has two teams that play in Florida: The Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers.

The Florida Panthers play in Sunrise, Florida—about 40 minutes outside the city center of Miami.

The Tampa Bay Lightning play in Tampa, Florida.

Is There a Hockey Team in Miami?

No, there isn’t technically a hockey team in the city of Miami, Florida.

However, Miami’s hockey team is really the Florida Panthers since they’re only 40 minutes of a drive away from the city center.

The Panthers play at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida.

What City Do the Florida Panthers Play In?

The Florida Panthers play in the city of Sunrise, Florida.

Sunrise is in the Metropolitan area of Miami, about 40 minutes outside the city center—just a bit Northwest of Fort Lauderdale.

Where Is the Tampa Bay Lightning Arena?

The Tampa Bay Lightning play at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.

The arena is in the heart of Tampa city in the Channel District.

It’s about a 15 minute drive southeast from Raymond James Stadium where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play.

Do the Florida Gators Have a Hockey Team?

Yes, the Florida Gators have a hockey team.

The University of Florida has two teams in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA): one in Division 2 (D2) and one in Division 3 (D3).

Where Is the Florida Panthers Hockey Team Located?

The Florida Panthers hockey team plays out of the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida.

This is in the Miami metropolitan area, about 40 minutes north of downtown Miami.

Are you curious to know more about hockey in other states across the U.S.? Don’t forget to check out our other full guide: Hockey Teams in Every U.S. State: Complete NHL & College List (2023)




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