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MY360: High Level Of Excitement

Monday, 03.01.2010 / 1:58 PM / Blogs
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MY360: High Level Of Excitement
I’ve heard people call South Florida a non-traditional hockey market, heard them say that there is a lack of passion for the sport down here where ice is only available indoors, and the weather is warm year-round.
 
But after yesterday’s captivating Gold medal game between the United States and Canada, you would be hard-pressed to argue that this region is not capable of completely falling in love with this sport.
 
In the past we have always pointed to the Florida Panthers 1996 run to the Stanley Cup Finals as an example of what hockey can do to South Florida. But while that Year of the Rat run lasted months, and yesterday’s game was just mere hours, we now have a more recent example of how this region can be a hotbed of hockey passion.
 
Barely seconds after Zach Parise scored for the Americans to send the Gold Medal game to overtime, my phone was aflutter with e-mails, calls and text messages. I had friends and business associates who were barely casual hockey fans, going out of their way to tell me how excited they were.
 
This morning, when I talked to some of our staff members, I heard stories about packed bars and house parties, about screaming at the television and hugging the person next to you, whether you knew them or not. I heard about U-S-A chants echoing through neighborhoods, about people – whether they were Florida natives or so-called transplants as so many of us are – hanging on every shot, check, save or bounce of the puck.
 
I heard about the silent pride that fell over many of us, even when Sidney Crosby scored in overtime to clinch the Gold for Canada. I also heard about the cheers, of course, from many of the Canada-natives that are connected to our organization.
 
Regardless of the outcome or rooting interest, yesterday was a proud day for hockey fans. For all of us here at SSE, there is a raised level of excitement today, knowing that as Panthers employees we are part of a sport that took hold of an entire continent yesterday, knowing that we have a small connection to a game that people will be talking about for years to come.
 
It’s a rare, energetic feeling, and one that we will hope to capitalize on in the coming days and weeks. That said, with the Olympic break behind us, and your Panthers back in action tomorrow night in Atlanta, it’s time to focus on the stretch run between now and the end of the regular season.
 
For any of you that have happened to log on to BankAtlanticCenter.com and browse through our events schedule, you know that March is setting up to be a record-setting month for the BankAtlantic Center. Over the next 31 days, the ‘Center of it All’ will host 21 events including seven home hockey games, and the South Florida Hockey Den of Honor unveiling on March 20.
 
March represents and incredible and somewhat unprecedented experience for SSE’s fans, partners and staff, as we expect a large and diverse audience of over a quarter of a million guests to file in through the BankAtlantic Center’s turnstiles.
 
On the concert side, we’ve got some huge tours visiting the ‘Center of It All’ including Michael Buble, Taylor Swift and Eric Clapton. Meanwhile on the ice, your Cats will continue to push in the Eastern Conference playoff race with upcoming home games against the likes of Philadelphia, Buffalo, in-state rival Tampa Bay and more.
 
That said, our entire organization is looking forward to welcoming a group of great Panthers alumni back to South Florida for the Den of Honor unveiling. With construction already underway, and having had the opportunity to browse through some of the blueprints and conceptual artwork, I know our fans are going to be excited by this one-of-a-kind in-arena experience.
 
But for now, we will lend much of our focus to our first home game after the Olympic Break when the Flyers come to town on Wednesday, but not forget about the incredible day of hockey that many of us experienced Sunday afternoon.
 
Thanks for reading and go Panthers.
  
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ABOUT MICHAEL YORMARK
SSE President & CEO

Since joining Sunrise Sports & Entertainment in September of 2003, Michael R. Yormark has guided the organization into a new era of growth and success.  For his efforts, devotion and dedication to SSE, the Florida Panthers and the BankAtlantic Center, he was promoted to the position of President on Aug. 13, 2007.
 
Yormark and his staff have worked diligently to build and re-brand Florida Panthers L.L.L.P. into Sunrise Sports & Entertainment, a first-class sports and entertainment company, and to ensure that the BankAtlantic Center lives up to its reputation as the “Center of it All” in South Florida. SSE serves as an umbrella for a diverse portfolio of operating entities that includes the BankAtlantic Center, the Florida Panthers, incredible ICE, the SSE Media Network and the Oz real estate development project.
 
Yormark has built SSE into a comprehensive company with its values rooted in innovative marketing and public relations strategies, first-rate customer and client services, aggressive sales and diverse revenue pursuits. Under his leadership, the organization has retained his mantras of “dream big, dare to fail” and “anything is possible.”
 
In addition, Yormark has overseen dramatic improvements to the BankAtlantic Center in the last few years including two Las Vegas-style outdoor marquees’ and two huge Lobby Vision LED boards inside the arena’s lobby. He has also spearheaded an innovative sponsorship activation strategy that included the unprecedented venue naming rights partnership with BankAtlantic in 2005, the creation of his Brand Activation Team and the development of the Publix Kids Korner, IT’s Sugar Sweet Spot, groundbreaking Learning Experience Club House For Kids, and various other branded destinations that are the first of their kind in the professional sports industry.
 
Yormark has been consistently recognized for his tireless work ethic, creative philosophies and renowned leadership through national awards and exposure such as the SportsBusiness Journal’s Forty Under 40 Award, the Stanley Cup of Business, the City of Sunrise Business Leader Award, the South Florida Business Journal’s Business of the Year Award Nomination, profiles in Newsweek magazine, Sports Illustrated, American Way Magazine and on CNBC, one of the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Most Influential People, a top 12 worldwide ranking for the BankAtlantic Center in Pollstar Magazine for 2009, an Arena of the Year Nomination from Pollstar and more.
 
Yormark has also dedicated considerable time to the South Florida community including acting as President of the City of Sunrise Foundation, sitting on the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Broward County and being a member of the Young President’s Organization.
 
That said, Yormark continues to expand the business and build the SSE brand through projects such as the expansion of incredible ICE and the development of the area surrounding the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise through Oz.
 
Before joining SSE, Yormark spent four seasons with Palace Sports & Entertainment and the Tampa Bay Lightning, most recently as Executive Vice President, where he was a Tampa Bay Business Journal Forty Under 40 Award Winner and brokered the naming rights partnership that saw the Ice Palace become the St. Pete Times Forum. He has also served as Vice President of Integrated Sales and Broadcasting for the Columbus Blue Jackets. He began his professional career in corporate sponsorship sales with the New York Yankees and eventually joined the media rep firm Katz Communications in New York City, where he oversaw sports sponsorship sales for their affiliated television stations. From there, Yormark joined Front Row Communications, the marketing and broadcasting arm of Wayne Huizenga's sports holdings. In four years as Vice President of Sales for Front Row, he helped rebuild Sportschannel Florida and assisted in the opening of the BankAtlantic Center.
 
Yormark and his wife Dana and daughter Sophia reside in Boca Raton.
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