Let me begin by wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to all of our wonderful fans, partners and constituents. Certainly I understand that we are in the midst of a challenging time as we wait for the return of hockey, but we still have a lot to be thankful for.
At the Florida Panthers organization, we are thankful that we have the most passionate, loyal and dedicated supporters in the National Hockey League. We know how lucky we are to have our incredible fans, and even in the absence of hockey, we continue working hard to maintain the excitement and buzz that surrounded our Cats last season and during the playoffs.
As wonderful as last season was, we can also be thankful for the bright future that exists for this franchise. Thanks to the hard work and ability of our GM Dale Tallon, Assistant GM Mike Santos and their staff, we have the best group of amateur and minor league prospects in the NHL.
Add in our incredible coaching staff led by Kevin Dineen, and a great core of returning players, there is a lot for Panthers fans to be excited about.
Frankly, we owe it to our fans to build a hockey franchise they can be proud of, and I am personally excited that we are beginning to deliver on that promise. In addition, we continue to deliver on the promise to be active in the South Florida community.
The holidays are a wonderful time to give back to those less fortunate, and nearly every person in our organization has done exactly that over the last couple of weeks. Whether it’s building a playground in Tamarac with our great partner JetBlue, working at a soup kitchen, running an in-office food drive, delivering Thanksgiving gift bags to cancer-affected families at Chris Evert Children’s Hospital, and more, we have been happy to donate time and resources to this great community that supports us so well.
For those reasons and more I was honored to accept the award for Outstanding Foundation in Broward County on behalf of the Panthers Foundation on National Philanthropy Day earlier in November. That award means a lot to us because it means we are fulfilling our responsibility as a public trust. I’ve always said that as a pro sports team, it is our job to win off the ice as well as on it.
Of course, none of our accomplishments – on and off the ice – would be possible without the backing of our incredible supporters. So as I said at the beginning, we are so thankful for everything you do for us – for all your passion and energy and love. We know how truly lucky we are to have it.
All the best to all of our fans and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.