Updated June 4, 2023 - 1:34 pm
It wasn’t cheap for Florida Panthers fans who made the trek into enemy territory to catch their team take on the Golden Knights in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Las Vegas.
A noticeable spattering of red was seen Saturday throughout T-Mobile Arena, showing that despite being located cross-country, the Panthers playing for the title for the first time since 1996 was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
Robert Langsett from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said once it was decided that the Knights would be the Panthers’ opponent, it was a no-brainer trip to plan.
“If it was in Dallas, we wouldn’t have gone,” Langsett said, referring to the Stars, who the Knights eliminated in the Western Conference Finals. “I mean it’s in Vegas, how many times are the Panthers going to play in the Stanley Cup in Vegas? ”
Evan Schultz, who lives in St. Louis but grew up in South Florida, said he was surprised with how many Panthers fans they saw in attendance and echoed Langsett saying it would be tough to turn down the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas.
“I think it’s due to the location,” Schultz said. “I mean who doesn’t want to go to Vegas for the finals? I mean any team’s fan base. It’s a great place to go.”
Schultz and his friend Jordan Zimm arrived at 2 p.m. Saturday and headed straight to the game after a pit stop at their hotel. The two paid just over $600 apiece on SeatGeek for their seats in the 200 level of T-Mobile Arena.
“I’m extremely impressed with T-Mobile Arena, it’s beautiful,” Schultz said. “This is a once in a lifetime thing. The last time the Panthers were in the Stanley Cup was 1996 and I was too young to really appreciate it. So I’m basking in this opportunity.”
Langsett and his wife hired a babysitter, booked their flight and hotel and bought their tickets on secondary ticket marketplace Gametime. The two tickets cost the Langsetts $1,700 total for seats in Section 1, Row L.
Kyle Gliwa and his father Keith, from Miami, got into Las Vegas at 2 a.m. Saturday waiting to catch a historic moment in their team’s history.
“He was born in 1997, so he didn’t see the ‘96 Panthers,” Keith Gliwa said. “So, his whole life the Panthers haven’t been very good. So we came out here because it’s once in a lifetime.”
The Gliwas used TickPick to get their tickets in Section 118 for $1,600 for the pair. The Gliwas are also taking in Game 2 of the series Monday in the same seats.
“We got the tickets during Game Six of the Western Conference Finals and the price ended going down since, but we’re just happy to be here,” Kyle Gliwa said.
Win or lose, Langsett said the trip to catch the Panthers playing for the Cup on The Strip is worth every penny.
“We don’t get to see our team play in the Stanley Cup often and it’s comforting that it’s a seven-game series, but it’s definitely worth it,” Langsett said.
The father and son duo of the Gliwas said they’re making a long weekend out of it, checking out the Strip and dabbling in some gambling and getting in a round of golf in on Sunday. Even with the cost associated with the trip, it will be a weekend that the two never forget.
“For us it’s worth it,” Kyle Gliwa said. “I’ve been a Panthers fan my whole life and I’m 26 years old. We never thought we’d be in this position. We’ll be right back for Game 3 and Game 4 in Florida. We just had to be here for both games.”