Vincent Viola was introduced Friday as the new principal owner, chairman and governor of the Florida Panthers.
Viola paid $250 million for the team and the operating rights to the BB&T Center, the team's home arena. Viola also gets the Saveology.com Iceplex where the Panthers train, along with team's development partnership with Boyd Gaming, an effort to put a casino adjacent to that arena.
"My family and I are honored to take the helm of the Florida Panthers organization with the No. 1 goal of putting a winning team on the ice year after year and bringing a Stanley Cup to our incredible fans here in South Florida," Viola said. "I believe strongly in family, work-ethic, loyalty, relentless effort and a positive attitude and we hope to build an organization based on those principles."
Douglas Cifu takes over as the Panthers' vice chairman, partner and alternate governor. Team president Michael Yormark was promoted, now getting chief executive officer as part of his title.
"I have often talked about the potential the Florida Panthers have to captivate the South Florida market and be one of the NHL's model franchises," Yormark said. "With Vinnie Viola as owner ... I believe the Panthers have a unique opportunity to realize that potential. Vinnie and Doug have been successful at everything they have ever done."
Viola is the chairman and CEO of Virtu Financial, an electronic trading firm with offices in the U.S., Singapore and Ireland. He's taking over a franchise that has been to the playoffs only once since 2000 and finished with the fewest points in the NHL last season.
Then again, his resume shows he's never hidden from a challenge.
Viola is a graduate of West Point, once chaired the New York Mercantile Exchange and was so moved by the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks that he decided to found a center devoted to helping military officials combat terrorism. Viola helped ensure that the mercantile exchange reopened quickly after the attacks on the World Trade Center, earning him a citation saying in part that "his actions embody the American Spirit in its most noble form."
Viola replaces Cliff Viner as owner.
"I thank Cliff Viner for his leadership and dedication in stewarding the Panthers franchise over the past five-plus years," Viola said. "My family and I truly are excited about this incredible opportunity. We look forward to sharing incredible moments and exciting victories with the fans in South Florida for many years to come."