South Floridas Heat and Panthers Chase N.B.A. And N.H.L. Titles

Logo The New York TimesThe New York Times
2023-06-09 17:09:17  • 7 mins

It is rare for teams from one market to play in the Stanley Cup and N.B.A. Finals in the same year, and a first for southern franchises, but it was bound to happen.

Martin Schwartz and Matthew Mandel are having a moment. Actually two. The lifelong friends hit the sports jackpot this month when the Miami Heat and Florida Panthers both ran the playoff gauntlet and made it to the finals, where they are now vying for N.B.A. and N.H.L. titles simultaneously.

Schwartz and Mandel, lifelong South Florida residents and friends since college, have shared season tickets to both teams for years. They have had lean years the Heat won just 15 games in the 2007-08 season and home games filled with noisy fans rooting for the visiting teams.

They celebrated the Heats title runs in 2012 and 2013 powered by Dwyane Wade and LeBron James and savored the Panthers sporadic playoff runs. But never did they believe both teams would start the postseason as No. 8 seeds, topple top-ranked clubs in upset after upset and battle for championships.

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