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MY360

MY360: Recap And Looking Ahead

Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 11:20 AM / Blogs
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MY360: Recap And Looking Ahead

Well Panthers fans a frustrating 2013 season came to an end on Saturday night, but it did end with a win and as a “glass half full” type of guy I think ending with a victory is appropriate.

It’s appropriate because there are clearly better days ahead for this franchise, spurred on by some of the talented youth you saw on display in Tampa on Saturday evenings.

Jonathan Huberdeau had three assists, Nick Bjugstad scored his first NHL goal, Jacob Markstrom had 28 saves and the win. Drew Shore notched an assist, and Alex Petrovic had a fighting major and nearly 20 minutes of ice time.

As Sun Sentinel columnist Dave Hyde wrote in his column, it was a bit of a trial by fire for many of our young players. But there is no doubt they will learn from this season’s challenges, and grow in to the players, and the team, we all expect them to be.

There is a reason that major media outlets have ranked the Panthers’ youngsters as the best crop of talent in the NHL, and we saw those reasons on full display on Saturday night.

So now it is time to turn the page, to look forward, and it’s certainly not too early to get excited about next season. We got our first chance to look forward last night, when the NHL Draft Lottery told us we will be picking second in June’s extremely deep and talented NHL Entry Draft.

It was a packed house as Panthers fans got to enjoy the Draft Lottery amongst their fellow supporters, as well as Erik Gudbranson, Stanley C. Panther and Billy Lindsay, at Duffy’s Plantation that included specials, giveaways, and more.

While it was unfortunate to not get the first overall pick, holding the second pick will set the stage for what will be an exciting offseason where GM Dale Tallon and his staff will add more youth and talent to our roster, while many of our skilled veterans get healthy and prepare to hit the ground running once training camp begins in September.

We are primed for a quick turnaround, and expect to be back contending for a Stanley Cup Playoffs spot once again. That said, I have to commend the support we received from our incredible fans all season long.

Coming out of a work stoppage, with a shortened and condensed schedule, and a team that did not perform to expectations, it would have been easy for our fans to stay away.

Yet we still averaged nearly 17,000 fans per game at the BB&T Center this season – an increase over last season – with some of the biggest crowds in the history of this franchise. That’s quite a statement about the passion and energy of Panthers fans here in South Florida, and every one of our fans deserves our humble thanks and praise.

So on behalf of our entire organization I want to thank all of our fans for their support this season. We look forward to staying in touch with you all summer long through a variety of new fan outreach initiatives, as well as at events like last night and our Draft Party and cookouts.

It may still be April, but I for one am already looking forward to Opening Night 2013. Thanks for reading and go Panthers.

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ABOUT MICHAEL YORMARK
SSE President

Michael R. Yormark is President of Sunrise Sports & Entertainment and is responsible for overseeing all of the organization’s operating entities including the Florida Panthers hockey club, the BB&T Center arena venue, the Saveology.com Iceplex recreational skating and training facility, SSE Gaming, 360 Premium, and more.


Since joining SSE in Sept. 2003 as Chief Operating Officer, Yormark has guided the organization into an era of growth and success. For his efforts, he was promoted to the position of President on Aug. 13, 2007.


Yormark and his staff have succeeded in building SSE in to a world-renowned and diverse professional sports and entertainment company. Yormark has utilized his unique leadership ability to nurture SSE in to an aggressive, hardcharging and innovative company predicated on his professional mantras and philosophies such as “dream big and dare to fail” and “anything is possible.”


Under Yormark’s watch, the Florida Panthers are the reigning Southeast Division Champions and returned to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2011-12 for the first time in over a decade. The Panthers also currently boast the top rated group of prospects in the NHL by ESPN and Hockey’s Future. In addition, Yormark has reinvigorated and repositioned the Panthers’ brand in South Florida around the color red signifying passion, intensity and success, making hockey relevant in the market once again. Meanwhile, the BB&T Center is one of the top ranked arena venues of its kind in the world, hosting world-class concerts, shows and events and maintaining industry relationships with promoters such as Live Nation and AEG.


The Saveology.com Iceplex is the only triple ice-sheet facility south of Washington, D.C. and is one of the top facilities of its kind in North American featuring the $10 million state-of-the-art training center for the Panthers. SSE Gaming was formed under Yormark’s watch as a partnership with Las Vegas casino giant Boyd Gaming to develop a casino hotel resort on the property surrounding the BB&T Center. Key to this initiative is the strong government relationships that Yormark and SSE have built and maintained at the city, county, state and national level. 360 Premium is SSE’s premium seating sales and marketing arm, created by Yormark and focused primarily on selling the new all-inclusive Club RED – a brand new arena improvement built with a $7.7 million loan secured by Yormark from Broward County.


Yormark has also helped SSE develop new revenue streams by pioneering the all-inclusive arena club concept (Club RED, etc.), partnering with Boyd Gaming, signing a long-term television rights agreement with FOX Sports, extending and up-selling the naming rights partnership for the BB&T Center (most lucrative in Florida and most valuable in building history), creating dramatic revenue-generating improvements to the arena, and more.


Yormark has also heralded enhanced community involvement from SSE under the revamped Florida Panthers Foundation which donates more than $1 million in kind annually to the fight against pediatric cancer in South Florida. That community commitment continues on a personal level as Yormark sits on the Orange Bowl Committee, the Broward Workshop, Broward Health Foundation board, American Heart Association executive cabinet, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society board, and raised a record amount of money as two-year chair for LLS’ Light The Night Walk.


Yormark and SSE have been consistently recognized as leaders in the industry through awards and media profiles such as: SportsBusiness Journal 40 Under 40 Award, SBJ Stanley Cup Of Business, City Of Sunrise Business Leader Award, South Florida Business Journal Business Of The Year Finalist, Newsweek Magazine, Sports Illustrated, New York Times, American Way, Success magazine, Smart Business magazine, CNBC, South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Mots Influential People, ESPN The Magazine No. 33-ranke pro sports franchise, Pollstar Arena Of The Year finalist, and more. Yormark has also used his incomparable passion for physical fitness and 4 a.m. workouts to support charitable causes, including competing in the 2012 Tough Mudder event benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project.


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 BB&T Center.


Yormark and his wife Dana and daughter Sophia reside in Boca Raton.

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