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Volume 24 No. 112
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Sources Say NHL Panthers Have Found N.Y.-Based Buyer, Sale Is "Imminent"

A buyer for the NHL Panthers "has been found and a deal should be announced within the next few weeks," according to sources cited by Josh Kosman of the N.Y. POST. One source said, "It’s imminent." The Panthers have made the playoffs "just once in the last 13 seasons" and average attendance has been "good for 26th in the 30-team league" (N.Y. POST, 9/18). Ft. Lauderdale-based WFTL-AM's Andy Slater reported the buyer is "former Nets minority owner Vincent Viola" (, 9/18). YAHOO SPORTS' Greg Wyshynski notes Viola was with the Nets "at the same time Brett Yormark was the CEO." Yormark's brother Michael is Panthers President (, 9/18). ESPN's Pierre LeBrun cites a source as saying that the Panthers' ownership situation "is not an agenda item" for next week's NHL BOG meeting in N.Y. However, that "doesn't mean the team can't be sold over the next month." Team sales "can be conducted via fax vote" (, 9/18).'s Brian Stubits notes the Panthers have had more than their "share of struggles on the ice and ... at the box office as well." Stubits: "The assumption is that as a whole the Panthers are a money-losing venture. While that is true on the hockey side of things, most believe it's a profitable venture by virtue of the Panthers being part of a larger company that also has rights to concerts and other events at the BB&T Center." While rumors have had teams relocating to either Quebec City or Seattle in the near future, Stubits does not "expect that to be the case" with the Panthers (, 9/18).

Wayne Huizenga
Alan Cohen
Cliff Viner/Stu Siegel
Cliff Viner

AFTERNOON SKATE: The GLOBE & MAIL's Robert Macleod noted the Panthers played the Predators Monday afternoon in a preseason game at BB&T Center that "did not exactly have fans streaming through the turnstiles." The Panthers did not release an official attendance figure for the game, but an image that has circulated on the Internet makes it appear that the "players outnumber the fans as they line up" for the playing of the U.S. national anthem. Panthers President Michael Yormark in a statement to Yahoo Sports indicated that the turnout "in no way reflects the franchise’s expectation for the upcoming season." Macleod noted the game the first of a doubleheader between the teams, and the second game, which started at 7:07pm ET, drew 6,541 fans (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/17).