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Interview with Keenan


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Panthers GM Speaks to the Media


The comments below were taken from Mike Keenan's conference call with South Florida media that took place Wednesday, February 16 following the announcement of the cancellation of the 2004-05 hockey season.


Talk a little about your level of disappointment with today?s announcement.


I am disappointed that we are not playing, but not disappointed for the future of the Florida Panthers and the league at large. It was very clear to me from the onset that we needed some type of cost certainty, an amount that was going to keep the league healthy in terms of growing it and moving forwarded.


What long-term effects do you think this will have on the fans?


I think everyone in the industry understands there is going to be a certain level of damage created from this decision. It is our responsibility once we start playing again to grow the game in a very positive fashion that is both very exciting and appealing to our fans.


Have you encountered much negativity towards the NHL?s work stoppage in your travels while scouting in Canada and Europe this season?


No. Fortunately the product in Canada remains strong and this has been substantiated even by the fact that we have had increased attendance at the minor league and amateur levels. While people may not be watching hockey at the NHL level, they are getting the opportunity to watch some great talent in the minor leagues and Europe.


Are you concerned about the future of the Florida Panthers organization?


Led by Alan Cohen, the Panthers have very strong ownership and want just like all the other owners, an economic situation where all 30 clubs may grow and be profitable, while also providing an excellent level of competition among our players. Mr. Cohen?s support for this team is very deep; He really enjoys the hockey club and wants the Panthers to continue to be part of the South Florida community.


Talk a little about how today?s decision impacts your role within the organization.


I think the one thing that I remain constant about is that it is my duty to continue to scout players. The more hockey that I see, gives me the opportunity to see more players and gain a broader view of the talent that is out there. I also will continue to look closely at the players that we have drafted playing amateur hockey, as well as those players competing on the American, Central and East Coast level. We are going to play hockey again and I want to be well equipped when we start, which entails having the best possible view and understanding of the players that are available.



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