With the 2011 NHL Entry Draft fast approaching, like many Florida Panthers fans, I am excited to see what General Manager Dale Tallon and his staff have in store over the next few days.
Last year around this time, I was just beginning my first year as General Partner of this franchise, and Dale was new to the organization as well, having joined us as GM after building an eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks team.
In just a few short days in Los Angeles, Dale drafted 13 players, including three first round picks, and pulled off a number of moves that helped set up his blueprint for success. It was billed as the consensus No. 1 draft performance in the league, and it has Panthers fans looking forward to this year’s draft weekend as well.
With the No. 3 overall pick, seven picks in the first three rounds, and ten overall, Dale once again has a lot of chips to play, as he constructs this Panthers team for year two of his blueprint.
How far we have come already. Thanks to Dale’s efforts, we have the most flexibility of any NHL team headed in to the draft and free agency, and we also have a passionate new coach in Kevin Dineen, to lead our franchise forward on the ice.
As General Partner, and also as a fan, it makes me excited and confident to see the passion, commitment and winning attitude that Dale, Kevin, Assistant GM Mike Santos, Bill Torrey and others bring to the organization each and every day.
Capturing those emotions and aggressiveness is our new “We See Red” marketing campaign for the 2011-12 NHL season. It’s been thrilling to follow fans reactions to the new campaign and to hear what “red” means to them.
For us, it’s the passion, commitment to winning, new blood, and aggressiveness that we want to bring to the BankAtlantic Center next season – not only on the ice, but as an entire organization. For fans, I believe it captures the essence of their loyalty and dedication to our team, and also their enthusiasm for supporting the Panthers as we work to return to the playoffs and become a consistent contender.
Those are the goals, and I’m looking forward to the next few days and taking another significant step in the right direction.