Hank Aaron Rare American Interested in Hockey

Baseball legend Hammerin' Hank is one of the buyers hoping to hit -- or build -- a home run in Sunrise

If they can't get the Panthers back in the playoffs, perhaps the impending new ownership could join hands and start releasing "We Are The World"-type charity singles.  Sports Properties Acquisition Corp is a venerable cross-section of business, sports management, and political figures, including Major League Hall of Famer and barrier-breaker Hank Aaron.

Henry + hockey?  Yep. Baseball's great ambassador and front office exec is on the board of SPAC, and currently negotiating to complete a $230 million purchase-merger with Sunrise Sports & Entertainment for the Panthers, BankAtlantic Center, and surrounding development called (it's not to late to change this, guys!) "City of Oz."

Soon to skate down the yellow brick road with Aaron, should negotiations be successful: President and CEO Tony Tavares, formerly of a facilities management company and past President of the Expos, Nationals, and Mighty Ducks (as CEO of Disney Sports); Andrew Murstein, investment banker; Mario Cuomo, former governor of New York and one-time minor leaguer; and Richard Mack, real estate investor.  Jack Kemp, a former NFL quarterback, U.S. Rep, and Republican nominee for Vice President, was with the group until his death last month.

Aw!  Politicians and sports figures and business people, all working together.  What does that mean for the Panthers?  It's a solid and respectable collection of experienced administrators, and if they bother to make any effort beyond "develop property, profit, sell," they'll probably be successful.  After all, not having won a playoffs game in over a decade means the Panthers' bar is set six feet below.

Aaron, for his part, has the heart for winning, and anyone willing to purchase a losing franchise certainly has courage.  But resuscitating the Panthers might take more than a publicly traded variety show -- it might take a wizard.

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