Over the past several years (actually, since they’ve become a franchise), rumors have spread throughout the hockey community about the possibility of the Florida Panthers relocating to Toronto, Las Vegas, Quebec, Seattle, Puerto Rico –okay, so not Puerto Rico, but you might as well add them into the mix – and every other province of Canada or state in the U.S.
Owners Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu are here to set the record straight. This afternoon, they sent out a letter to Panthers fans:
“As we close in on the one-year anniversary of our ownership of the Florida Panthers, we want to reiterate our commitment to Broward County, South Florida and our Panthers fans and business partners. As we said at the press conference when we bought the team, we view ourselves as stewards of the team for the community and our plan is to build an organization that makes South Florida proud and to win the Stanley Cup in South Florida. Despite media speculation to the contrary, we have no plans or intentions to move this franchise.
We made a commitment to the Panthers and to South Florida when we bought the team to build a successful organization on and off the ice. We have been working hard to live up to that commitment. Starting with the trade to bring Roberto Luongo, one of the world’s top goaltenders, back home to South Florida, and continuing with our committing over $80 million to new players, including bringing six talented veteran free agents to South Florida and resigning all of our restricted free agents, we have dedicated ourselves to improving the team. Off the ice, we continue to expand our community outreach initiatives and look forward to continue to contribute to the quality of life for residents.
It is no secret that the Panthers and BB&T Center have lost tremendous amounts of money over the last dozen years. We are working hard to address this situation, which we believe we can do with the support from our loyal fans, our business partners, the business community and our community-at-large.
We look forward to a winning season and bringing a Stanley Cup to South Florida.
With Warm Regards,
Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu, Co-Owners”.
Look everyone, we know you find struggles of other franchises to be a real comedy show, but there are people who have jobs within this franchise, write for this franchise, or have paid big money to finally watch this team put a winning product on the ice. For the first time, in a long time, the Panthers could put together that winning product with franchise players such as Roberto Luongo, Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad, Aaron Ekblad, Dmitry Kulikov, Erik Gudbranson, and Brandon Pirri.
Stick around and watch. We’ll be here all year, and then some.