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The Colorado Avalanche (colloquially known as the Avs) are a professional ice hockey team based in Denver. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL)The Colorado Avalanche (colloquially known as the Avs) are a professional ice hockey team based in Denver. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Central Division in the Western Conference, and play their home games at Ball Arena, which they share with the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association. Their general manager is Joe Sakic. The Avalanche were founded in 1972 as the Quebec Nordiques, and were one of the charter franchises of the World Hockey Association. The franchise joined the NHL in 1979 as a result of the NHL–WHA merger. Following the 1994–95 season, they were sold to the COMSAT Entertainment Group and relocated to Denver. During their first season in Denver, the Avalanche won the Pacific Division and went on to sweep the Florida Panthers in the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals, becoming the first relocated NHL team to win the Stanley Cup. Among teams in the major North American professional sports leagues, only the National Football League (NFL)'s 1937 Washington Redskins have also accomplished the feat. This was also the first major professional sports championship a Denver-based team brought to the city. In the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals, the Avalanche defeated the New Jersey Devils 4–3 to win their second and most recent championship. As a result, they are the only active NHL team that has won all of its Stanley Cup Finals appearances. The Avalanche have won ten division titles since relocating to Denver (and set the league record for most consecutive division titles at nine in a row from 1995 to 2003; one in Quebec, and the rest in Colorado), and qualified for the playoffs in each of their first ten seasons after relocation; this streak ended in 2007.
The Florida Panthers are a professional ice hockey team based in the Miami metropolitan area. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a memberThe Florida Panthers are a professional ice hockey team based in the Miami metropolitan area. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference, and initially played their home games at Miami Arena before moving to the FLA Live Arena in 1998. Located in Sunrise, Florida, the Panthers are the southernmost team in the NHL. The team's local broadcasting rights have been held by Bally Sports Florida (formerly SportsChannel and Fox Sports Florida) since 1996. The Panthers are primarily affiliated with two minor league teams: the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL) and the Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the ECHL. The Panthers began playing in the 1993–94 NHL season, where they set the record for the most successful expansion team until the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017–18. The team has made one appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996, eventually losing the Finals to the Colorado Avalanche. Since then, the Panthers have struggled to find sustained success, having only qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs six times since 1996, and not winning a playoff series since.