NHL Franchise Notes: Panthers Hope To Make South Florida Destination For Players
In Miami, George Richards writes with Panthers GM Dale Tallon’s leadership, the team hopes the club "becomes a destination point for free agents." Tallon believes that he "can sell the Panthers and South Florida to anyone after this past season." Richards: "Gone is talk of the Panthers missing the playoffs for an NHL-record 10 seasons; gone is talk of the Panthers being a substandard organization. Winning sure seems to cure most problems." Tallon said, "We sent a message to everyone in the hockey world that this is the place to be." Panthers C John Madden said, "They changed the culture here. Florida’s a great place to play. I never thought I’d say that sitting from the outside all those years in New Jersey" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/2).
ON THE PROWL: In Phoenix, Mike Sunnucks reported the sale of the Coyotes to an ownership group headed by former Sharks President & CEO Greg Jamison "could be approved" by the NHL and the city of Glendale "as early as May 8." That would keep the Coyotes in Arizona "and allow the team to rollover its on-ice success in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs into ticket sales and business sponsorships for next season." The city, NHL and Jamison are "working out the Glendale portion of the deal that previously has tripped up other bids for the Coyotes." Glendale City Council members "will be briefed again on the Coyotes situation early next week" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 4/29).
FAMILIAR FACE: In Toronto, Steve Simmons notes Devils President, CEO & GM Lou Lamoriello is the "longest-serving general manager in professional sports and just about everything in hockey has changed over the past 25 years, except him." No one else in the game "has been a GM longer than 14 years." Lamoriello said, "I think sometimes people forget there are two people in pro sports, the person and the player. We have to look at them and deal with them that way." Excluding Lamoriello's stints in '05 and '07 as the team's interim head coach, 16 "different men have coached the Devils in Lamoriello's time" (TORONTO SUN, 5/2).
REWARDS PROGRAM: The Predators have started “Smashville Rewards,” a program designed to reward season-ticket holders for their business at games at Bridgestone Arena. Fans can earn points for activities such as purchasing season tickets, attending games and participating in special promotions. Points can be redeemed for merchandise, seat upgrades, concessions and more. The club has based its program on similar ones in the hotel and airline industry. Predators Exec VP & Chief Sales Officer Chris Parker said, “We wanted to thank our season-ticket holders for their passion and loyalty, and this program was the absolute best way to do that” (Christopher Botta, SportsBusiness Journal).