The NHL lockout claimed its first mascot victim yesterday as Stanley C. Panther was one of an unspecified number of Florida Panthers employees laid off by the club yesterday, only three days into the work stoppage.The Panthers are the second team, after the Ottawa Senators, to reduce staff so far due to the lockout which began with the expiration of the CBA at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday. I would think at least a few other clubs will follow suit as we get deeper into the lockout.
This would appear to indicate that the powers that be at Sunrise Sports and Entertainment don't see a quick resolution between the owners and the players. It seems a little strange to lay off your mascot considering the need for promotion and community outreach never really goes away, even if the team is not currently playing, but these are troubled times indeed. My heart goes out to the performer who plays Stanley C. Panther and the other employees who lost their jobs yesterday. Let's hope it's just a temporary thing and they all get rehired soon. It's only a matter of time before on ice related cuts start happening as well. Look for preseason games to start getting cancelled in the very near future.