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Blog 242: Happy Thanksgiving From Ownership

Thursday, 11.26.2009 / 10:30 AM / Blogs
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Blog 242: Happy Thanksgiving From Ownership
Before I get started with my first blog as Co-Managing Partner and CEO of the Florida Panthers, I want to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving from ownership and the rest of the Panthers organization.
 
Just under two weeks into my and Cliff Viner’s tenure as the leaders of this hockey franchise, I have to say that I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our fans and partners. The sentiment is greatly appreciated, and it proved to me and Cliff once again that South Florida is ready to embrace the accountability, accessibility and winning culture that we have talked about.
 
That said, what a two weeks it has been. The Panthers are playing well, having won eight of their last 13 games and securing points in eight consecutive contests, and we’ve seen the resulting excitement in the community.
 
We’ve had crowds of over 16,000 for both home games this week against the Penguins and Rangers, the local media has really grabbed hold of the turnaround, and the overall reaction to the debut of our third jerseys on Monday has been nothing short of incredible.
 
Off the ice, though, our organization has been able to make just as sizeable an impact. As Cliff and I both stated in our introductory press conference, building a winning hockey team is of the utmost importance, but so is being active and supportive in the South Florida community.
 
I believe we have taken some big steps toward that promise in the past 10 days, particularly with our support of the Cooperative Feeding Program of Broward County and the Michael Brewer Foundation.
 
On Tuesday, Panthers staff, players and GM Randy Sexton joined me at the Cooperative Feeding Program. We donated $10,000 worth of turkeys and a truckload of canned goods that we collected at the arena, enabling us to provide 750 Thanksgiving meals to underprivileged families. I was personally touched, as I got to interact with many of the families who we provided these meals to.
 
That was preceded by Monday night’s raffle, which raised nearly $5,000 in support of Michael Brewer, the South Florida teen and Panthers fan who was tragically burned by fellow teenagers.
 
As I’ve said in the past, we have a responsibility as an organization to use our resources to give back to those less fortunate, and we take that responsibility very seriously. In that vein, at the first Managing Partners Town Hall Meeting next week, Cliff and I will unveil our Contract With The Community, which will outline the Panthers mission to reach out and support our neighbors in South Florida.

We will also have an opportunity to talk DIRECTLY with our fans about our philosophies and goals for this franchise in an open forum where all questions will be welcomed from all attendees. Cliff and I want you all to hold us accountable for the performance of this team, both on and off the ice. Based on the e-mail responses we have gotten so far, Cliff and I are both we are expecting a great turnout.
 
But that’s not until next Wednesday. For now, I am going to do my best to enjoy a happy Thanksgiving with my family, while eagerly anticipating tomorrow’s game against the Maple Leafs. I truly hope you do the same.

Stu
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ABOUT CLIFF AND STU
Co-Managing Partners

Cliff Viner and Stu Siegel became co-managing partners for SSE, the Florida Panthers and the BankAtlantic Center on November 16th, 2009.

Cliff takes over as the club's Chairman/Alternate Governor while Stu is the CEO/Governor while also serving as the Chairman of the Panthers Foundation.

Stu Siegel, in his second year with the Panthers, serves as chairman of the Florida Panthers Foundation and a private foundation he formed with his wife Jill over a decade ago. He has built a reputation as a sharp business leader. Most recently, Siegel was CEO of the Boca Raton-based eNeighborhoods, one of the fastest growing technology companies for the real estate industry. From 2005-07, Siegel was named to the Inman100 list of the 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders.
 
Cliff is a general partner of AVM, L.P., a fixed income broker/dealer. Along with his wife Jill, Viner established the Compassionate Care Program at Ruth Rales Jewish Family Services in Palm Beach County and created Camp BreakAway, where over 110 children are sent to camp each summer in Pennsylvania. The Viners have also established financial aid scholarships in perpetuity at the University of Pennsylvania and have endowed financial aid scholarships in athletics at Boston University. Jill is also Senior Vice President of the Executive Board at the Barton G. Kids Hear Now Foundation and a National Board Member of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation.

 
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