Earlier today, I spoke at the Light The Night Kickoff Luncheon at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s Comedy Improv. In attendance were honored heroes and cancer survivors C.J. George and Jamison Herron, and over 150 Light The Night walkers who are committed to raising money for cancer research and awareness.
Thus far, the Florida Panthers have raised over $32,000 to support Light The Night, but we still have a long way to go to reach our goal of $100,000. So, if there are any fans out there that want to lend their support, I urge you to log on to http://pages.lightthenight.org/sfl/Huizenga10/myormark and make a donation today. Or you can sign up to walk on Nov. 13 in downtown Ft. Lauderdale.
In the 1960’s, a child that was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia had a 5-percent chance of surviving their cancer diagnosis. Today, that child has close to a 90-percent chance of survival. Our goal is a 100-percent survival rate and finding a cure for this terrible disease. We need all the help we can get to accomplish that goal.
Meanwhile, as we continue to prepare for Panthers Opening Night 2010, we are extremely excited about what new General Manager Dale Tallon continues to do to position this franchise for future success. Clearly, he orchestrated an incredible performace at the Draft in Los Angeles that led to praise both locally and nationally, and he made some shrewd free agent signings in forward Chris Higgins and defenseman Nathan Paetsch. As a Panthers fan, there is certainly reason to be excited and, as Dale says, he won’t stop looking for ways to improve our team.
On the business side, with the new Miami royalty in town, we got creative with our Seats Fit For A King promotion. With season tickets on sale for $23 per game in the lower bowl and $6 in the upper bowl, we saw a great spike in sales, and were able to generate some incredible media coverage as well.
Quite frankly, with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh teaming up for the Miami Heat, the sports landscape in South Florida has changed for the better. We now have to be considered one of the hottest sports markets in the US, and we have to work hard as a franchise to be a part of that. Championships are the expectation now, and I think our general manager would agree with that. As he has said, our goal is to make the playoffs and become a contender for the Stanley Cup. As a fan, that’s what you want to hear.
Like many fans, I can’t wait to drop the puck on the 2010-11 season, but for anyone looking to get a hockey fix in July, tomorrow night’s Cats Cookout is a great opportunity. Hosting will be ’96 Panther and new Assistant Coach Gord Murphy, new Assistant GM Mike Santos, as well as young forward Shawn Matthias
. Log on to FloridaPanthers.com for more information.
While our hockey franchise is clearly headed in the right direction, the BankAtlantic Center continues to establish itself as one of the top arena venues in the world. Ranked No. 8 in the US and No. 21 worldwide in the recent Pollstar magazine rankings, the “Center of it All” will host a number of big shows in August including Aerosmith, Justin Bieber and American Idols. That said, VP of Event Programming Matt Bell and I will be out in LA meeting with promoters next week and anticipate announcing more exciting BankAtlantic Center shows in the coming weeks.
Thanks for reading and go Panthers.