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MY360

MY360: A New Era

Thursday, 10.03.2013 / 2:40 PM / Blogs
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MY360: A New Era
MY360: A New Era

Panthers fans. Tonight represents the dawn of a new era for this franchise as our Cats play their first game with Vinnie Viola and the Viola family as the owner. 

 

Vinnie, along with his wife Teresa, sons John, Michael and Travis, and partner Doug Cifu, were introduced to South Florida last Friday and the expectations were clear and simple – this team is going to win both on and off the ice.

 

To that effect, GM Dale Tallon and his staff have orchestrated a series of moves over the last week to bolster our young and talented roster with talented veterans such as goalie Tim Thomas, defensemen Tom Gilbert and Ryan Whitney, and forwards Brad Boyes and Krys Barch. 

 

The new faces make their debut – along with returning stars Jonathan Huberdeau, Erik Gudbranson, Brian Campbell, Tomas Fleischmann and others - tonight in Dallas against the Stars.

 

It’s the season opener of the Cats’ 20th Anniversary Season and it kicks off a four-game road trip before the Panthers return to Sunrise for a “throwback” Opening Night against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, Oct. 11.

 

It’s going to be a thrilling week-plus for Panthers fans, as well as everybody that works with our organization. With a lot of new faces in the locker room - not to mention the front office - it will be exciting to see how Head Coach Kevin Dineen shuffles the lines and defensive pairings and gets this team to gel as quickly as possible. 

 

Regardless, there is no question we have a better team than we did a week ago, and with depth to go along with the burgeoning talent, there is every reason for our fans and the South Florida community to be pumped up about the start of the Panthers season. 

 

As Vinnie said during his press conference last Friday, this organization now has a singular mission and purpose, and that is to put a winning team on the ice for our fans and for the entire community.

 

We’ve seen – as recently as the 2011-12 Southeast Division title season – how South Florida can rally around this franchise with passion and energy, and I’m starting to get a similar feeling with the anticipation and the optimism that is starting to surround this franchise again. 

 

With Vinnie Viola and his family at the helm, a great GM in Dale Tallon, a passionate and committed coach like Kevin Dineen, and a roster that now boasts both talent and experience, I truly believe that this is the first step in a new era of success for this franchise, with a plethora of memorable moments for our fans.

 

With seven home games in “RED October” there is no shortage of opportunities for our fans to see the Cats at the BB&T Center, and they will also get a chance to experience some of the new changes to the arena, the most notable being the new Panasonic high definition scoreboard which will be officially unveiled – and named - next Friday.

 

But I know for our passionate fans they are most looking forward to seeing what this retooled Panthers team can do, beginning tonight against Stars. Hopefully you are able to tune in live to watch Billy and Goldie call the game, also with an exclusive first intermission interview with new owner Vinnie Viola.

 

It’s another opportunity to hear Vinnie’s vision for this franchise – a vision that should have all of South Florida excited and believing that RED is truly rising.        

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ABOUT MICHAEL YORMARK
SSE President & CEO

Michael R. Yormark is President and Chief Executive Officer 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, and then to President & CEO on Sept. 27, 2013. 


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, hard-charging 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 won the Southeast Division Championship and returned to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2011-12 for the first time in over a decade. The Panthers also currently boast one of 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.  


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 strong industry relationships with Live Nation and other major or independent promoters.


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-based Boyd Gaming to develop a casino hotel resort on the property surrounding the BB&T Center. 


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, in addition to the arena’s other clubs and suites. 


Yormark has also spearheaded a number of major improvements to the BB&T Center for this season including a new Panasonic HD scoreboard built with a $4.2 million grant from Broward County, a new plaza level floor, and new arena vendors in CSC and Park One.


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 and the Boys & Girls Club of Broward County Board, and has chaired a number of major charitable initiatives including the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Light The Night Walk in Broward County, the Broward County Mayors’ Gala benefitting the United Way, and more. 


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-ranked 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 a 2012 and 2013 Tough Mudder event benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project. 


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

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