SBD/March 4, 2014/Franchises

Rory Babich Takes NHL Panthers' Reins Following Michael Yormark's Departure

Under Yormark's leadership, the Panthers have made the playoffs once
NHL Panthers Exec VP & Senior Advisor to the Owner Rory Babich yesterday became CEO & President and will work with Exec VP & GM of Hockey Operations Dale Tallon "on both the hockey and business side of the organization," according to George Richards of the MIAMI HERALD. Both Babich and Tallon yesterday were "named alternate governors of the franchise" after Panthers President Michael Yormark "left the organization" for Roc Nation. Tallon and Babich have "been working together" since team Owner Vinnie Viola and Vice Chair & Partner Douglas Cifu "took over the organization." Since Yormark joined the franchise in '03, the Panthers "made the playoffs once," although the BB&T Center "became a top entertainment venue and helped keep the hockey team financially afloat." Yormark said of his departure, "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." Richards notes Yormark's departure "didn't come as a complete surprise as rumors had been circulating since last month following his appearance at a Broward County Board of Commissioners workshop in which the Panthers [requested] to restructure their contract and lessen (or completely erase) their financial obligation for use of the Sunrise arena." Yormark has "been at the forefront of the team’s dealings with the county over the past decade and secured funding" last summer for a $4.2M scoreboard and video command center. Babich will "join Cifu in working with the county as Yormark moves on" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/4).

NOT-SO-PERFECT TIMING: In Ft. Lauderdale, Wallman & Fialkov write it is "yet to be known" whether Yormark's departure will "set back the team's request for help" from Broward County. Yormark and county officials said that they "hoped it wouldn't." Yormark said, "Timing stinks. I had to make this decision in the best interest of my career and my family" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 3/4).
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