SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – The Florida Panthers are ready to start a new season and will do so under new ownership.
Friday, the Panthers will announce Vincent Viola as the team’s new owner. Viola will pay around $250 million for the Panthers franchise and will replace Cliff Viner, who became a co-general partner of the team in 2009 and took over as general partner, chairman, and CEO the next season.READ MORE: First Day Of Fall Is Almost Here, Autumnal Equinox On Wednesday
Viola currently serves as the chairman and CEO of Virtu Financial, an electronic trading firm. Viola is a West Point graduate and was a major in the U.S. Army Reserves. He also served as a chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange and built a center devoted to combating terrorism.
Viola has to hope his business success will help build a winner in Sunrise. The Panthers have been to the playoffs only once since 2000 and finished with the fewest points in the NHL last season.READ MORE: Dueling Florida Lottery Jackpots: Mega Millions Reaches $432 Million, Powerball At $472 Million
Completing the sale will have an immediate effect on the on-ice product, at least in one respect. The move clears the way for the team to complete the signing of two-time Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas, a Stanley Cup-winning goaltender who took last season off before deciding that he wanted to return.
Thomas has been with the Panthers on a tryout deal, and it was believed that the team was waiting for the ownership change to be completed before wrapping up his signing.MORE NEWS: 'I'll Die In Haiti': Mass Deportations Of Haitians Migrants Living At Makeshift Camp Near Texas Border Underway
In other Panthers news, the team announced Thursday that it had hired John Madden as a pro scout. Madden is a 13-year-veteran of the NHL and won three Stanley Cup titles during his career. Madden was most recently on the Montreal Canadiens’ scouting staff.