SUNRISE, Fla. – Florida Panthers Chairman, Owner and Governor of Sunrise Sports & Entertainment Vincent Viola announced today that the club has agreed to a multi-year contract extension with Bill Zito and promoted him to President, Hockey Operations and General Manager.

“From his first day as a Panther, Bill has demonstrated his complete commitment to success both on and off the ice. He has worked steadfastly and tirelessly to establish a new standard of excellence for our franchise,” said Viola. “The future has never looked brighter in South Florida and we are thrilled that Bill will continue to lead the way.”

“Under Bill’s leadership we have seen renewed fan excitement, consistent playoff appearances and a sustained culture of success,” said SSE Alternate Governor Michael Viola. “Through this extension, we are recommitting to stability and strength at the heart of our organization, as well as the continued growth of our sport throughout Broward County and South Florida.” 

Through Zito’s four-year tenure as general manager, the Florida Panthers have evolved into one of the most complete and competitive teams in the NHL. Since 2020-21, the Panthers rank first in shots on goal per game (35.7), second in third-period goals (370) and third in goals per game (3.56), while leading the league in overtime goals (34). Florida’s 188-88-25 record in that span ranks fifth among NHL clubs, with Zito’s personal record as general manager ranking third among active GMs and fourth all time in terms of points percentage among GMs with at least 300 games at the helm.

The Cats have not missed the playoffs during Zito’s tenure, successfully earning playoff bids in all four seasons which continues as the club’s longest postseason streak. The Panthers have collected several accolades, highlighted by team achievements including the 2022-23 Prince of Wales Trophy and 2021-22 Presidents’ Trophy and Atlantic Division title. Zito acquisition Matthew Tkachuk became the third Panther in franchise history to be named a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy, producing a career-high 109 points (40-69-109) in his first season in South Florida in 2022-23. Panthers Captain Aleksander Barkov won the Frank J. Selke Trophy in 2020-21 as the NHL’s best defensive forward and was a finalist for the award in 2021-22. Zito was nominated as a finalist for the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award in 2020-21 and 2022-23.

The Milwaukee, Wisc., native deftly built the current roster of the Cats through the draft, free agency, waiver claims and trades. His blockbuster acquisition of Tkachuk marked the first sign-and-trade in NHL history, securing the superstar in South Florida through the 2029-30 season to match the eight-year extension signed by Cats Captain Aleksander Barkov the prior season. Gustav Forsling, a waiver claim made by Zito in his first season at the helm, owns the NHL’s best plus-minus rating this season and recently agreed to an eight-year extension through the 2031-32 campaign. Additionally, Zito acquired Sam Reinhart, who has scored the second-most goals of any player in 2023-24, Sam Bennett, Brandon Montour and Vladimir Tarasenko through trades and signed key players Carter Verhaeghe, Niko Mikkola, Evan Rodrigues, Anthony Stolarz, Kevin Stenlund and Oliver Ekman-Larsson in free agency. 

In the postseason, the Panthers have improved each season under Zito. Florida broke the NHL’s longest playoff series victory drought with its first-round win over the Washington Capitals in Zito’s second season, and then went to the 2023 Stanley Cup Final defeating three of the top five NHL teams along the way, including the second-largest upset by point differential in NHL history in the first round against the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Boston Bruins.

Off the ice, Zito recruited veteran head coach Paul Maurice along with assistants Jamie Kompon, Sylvain Lefebvre and Myles Fee to lead the Panthers to a competitive style of play designed for success in the playoffs. Zito also formed the Goaltending Department led by Hockey Hall of Famer and former Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo, and the Performance Department led by Chris McLellan.

On the international stage, Zito was recently named assistant general manager for Team USA in the NHL 4 Nations Face-Off in 2025 as well as for the 2026 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team. He previously served as the general manager of the bronze medal-winning 2018 U.S. Men’s National Team and was also part of the management team for the bronze medal-winning 2015 U.S. Men’s National Team.

2024 Florida Panthers Stanley Cup Playoff single game tickets are on sale now! Single game tickets can be purchased at SeatGeek.com or at Amerant Bank Arena Box Office (Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Florida Panthers 2024-25 Territory Memberships are available now. Visit FloridaPanthers.com/TerritoryMemberships to learn more, call the PUCK line (954.835.PUCK) or fill out this interest form.