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MICHAEL YORMARK TALKS: Takes Pride in Keeping Florida Panthers Alive

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards


Below is the transcipt from an interview I did with former Florida Panthers president Michael Yormark on Monday evening.

There is some pretty good stuff in here.

And regardless of what you think of Yormark or how he ran the organization these past 11 years, you have to give him credit for continuously and tirelessly working to make things work down here. The guy just never stops.

Anyway, here you go:


I'm thrilled. At the end of the day, I've been here 11 years. I've had a lot of opportunities come my way during that period of time. But I've done everything I can do here.

I came here to build a first-class organization, to put this building on the map, to help this arena, to make the hockey team relevant in South Florida. Based on what I controlled and what I could impact, I did everything I could.

This opportunity really puts me on a global platform. This takes me to a completely different level in my career.

I had to go for it, I really did.

The easy thing would have been to stay, continue to do the same thing I did for 11 years. But I'm in the prime of my career and this opportunity opens up numerous doors. I'm working with such talented people at Roc Nation. It's one of the leaders in entertainment space on a global level. I'm just excited to be part of it.

This was once in a lifetime and it allows me to integrate entertainment with the sports side. It's really never been done before. I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to miss being down here, but I'm going to stay in South Florida, my family is still living in Boca Raton. I'll still catch games when I can, catch concerts and shows here when I can -- especially when we have our artists here. I'll be around. I wish Vinnie and his family the best of luck. I hope they can take this thing to the next level. That's what our fans want to see. I'll be cheering for them.

 

When I look at my legacy here, I look back and I helped keep hockey alive here in South Florida.

If you think about it, we had one playoff experience in 11 years. Yet the team is still here. We have a thriving arena, a thriving entertainment business. The team is hopefully about to turn the corner. Will all of that we kept moving the business forward. We built a brand that was revelant in the market and I'm proud of that. I can't tell you how many e-mails I got from people today, from fans to partners to business associates who said 'Michael, we appreciated your 24/7 effort. You did it against all odds.'

Think about it. And I told my staff this today, since I've been here, we've had multiple owners, coaches and general managers as well as two work stoppages. And, the Heat have won three championships -- and working on a fourth -- the Marlins won a championship. And on the entertainment side, there is all kinds of new places that have opened in the past 11 years. Case in point, the Hard Rock. Despite all that, we survived. We continued to move the business forward.

When I look back, I'm proud of what I accomplished. We didn't get a lot of help, but we perservered and worked our butts off every single day. I will tell you, we always had the hardest working staff in America. Every person who worked for this organization over the past 11 years worked 24/7 to build this brand and help keep this business alive. That's what I'm most proud of, I really am.

The difference from where I am and where I'm going is here, the challenge was to keep it alive. Where I'm going, the challenge is to build something great. I have an opportunity to really build something with Roc Nation, Jay-Z and the senior management team here. Where I've been the past 11 years, I was focused every day on surviving in a very competitive market. We did.

 

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Columbus has been to the playoffs once in their 13 or so years, The Panthers have been once in 13 years of so, the Atlanta Thrashers went to the playoffs once in their 13 years but the only team that relocated was Atlanta. And there's no way Columbus and So Florida are better hockey areas than Atlanta. (B)uck Gary(F)ettman.

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