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It All Starts With Family And Fans For Viola And Cifu

Introduced as the new Panthers owners, Vincent Viola and Doug Cifu plan to make culture around family and fans.

Friday, 09.27.2013 / 4:54 PM ET / News
By Chrissy Parente  - FloridaPanthers.com
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It All Starts With Family And Fans For Viola And Cifu

For Panthers new chairman, principal owner and governor Vinnie Viola, it is about more than just owning a professional sports team. For Vinnie, it’s about family and the fans in the community.

Viola and his wife, Teresa have been married for 30 years and have three sons: John, Michael and Travis. He spoke about the importance of family in his life and ultimately how they influenced him to become an owner.

“I have to start by thanking my wife Teresa because she stood by me through everything I thought, envisioned and tried to create for 31 years,” said Viola. She’s been my best friend and the toughest individual I’ve ever met in my life.”

Viola’s business partner Doug Cifu also took the time to express the importance his family had throughout his career to get to where he is today.

“I want to thank my wife and family. Melissa Cifu, my wife, partner, my best friend and a wonderful supporter. If it wasn’t for Melissa, I probably wouldn’t be here and we may not have had this day,” said Cifu. “My two wonderful children: Rachel and Daniel, my brothers: David, John and nephew James.”

Not only does Viola think family is an integral part of life but also spoke about the great and indispensable role fans have in contributing to a team’s success.

“I want us to be a team that is completely committed to winning the right way for the community that it represents,” said Viola. “The community is the families that make up the team, the surrounding coverage of the team and the fan base.”

Both men praised the South Florida community and Panther fans for the commitment to the team for the past 20 years and promised they would help provide the resources to bring success back to the team.

“It’s about the players and fans and our service to those two respective groups that will determine our success,” said Viola.

Cifu expressed his gratitude towards the fans as soon as he walked up to the podium expressing his great interest in making sure the fans are happy.

“I just want to thank you, all of the Panther fans,” said Cifu. “You’ve been an incredible supportive group for many, many years here. Vinnie and I really take this responsibility very seriously and we will do our best to never disappoint you.”

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman also spoke about the Panther fan base stating he believes South Florida has a strong core of hockey fans.

“This team, looking back, which we will do briefly for a second, had a ten-year drought in the playoffs,” said Bettman. “And if you look at the core fan base that stood by this team, that continue to make this team viable in this market, it’s pretty impressive.”

Bettman stated he believes the foundation of the franchise is strong and growing each year. With the resources that the new ownership has promised to Dale Tallon, Bettman believes the team is destined to win.

“When you devote the resources, I think the foundation that this club has will only grow and be built upon,” said Bettman. “All indications are that the future will be exceedingly bright.”

Viola and Cifu remained humbled by the opportunity to be a part of the Panther organization and praised the management in Kevin Dineen and Dale Tallon, fans and players.

“We don’t really own anything,” said Viola. “The players sweat, sacrifice their health in later years, to do well on the ice to provide the right feeling and connection to the fans.”

Viola summed up his message to the local media and organization with the theme of family once again.

“It begins and ends with the family,” said Viola.

With the new regular season approaching, the Panthers organization is excited to get back to playing the game. With new players, new ownership and a 20th anniversary celebration of the team, fans can look forward to watching the Panther family grow and succeed.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 54 40 10 4 178 124 84
2 FLA 56 32 18 6 153 132 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 BOS 55 30 19 6 163 150 66
5 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 NYI 54 29 19 6 153 137 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 56 28 21 7 124 124 63
10 CAR 56 25 21 10 137 146 60
11 PHI 54 24 20 10 128 140 58
12 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
13 OTT 57 25 26 6 159 177 56
14 CBJ 57 23 28 6 144 175 52
15 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
16 TOR 54 20 25 9 127 151 49

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 53 17 23 13 40
J. Huberdeau 56 11 29 10 40
J. Jokinen 56 11 27 12 38
V. Trocheck 56 17 18 2 35
A. Barkov 43 16 19 13 35
R. Smith 56 18 16 11 34
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
A. Ekblad 52 11 13 17 24
B. Campbell 56 5 18 20 23
N. Bjugstad 41 9 10 -5 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 24 14 5 .924 2.29
A. Montoya 8 4 1 .926 2.06

 
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