Miami Herald – Florida Panthers owner Vinnie Viola has been selected by President-elect Donald Trump to be the new Secretary of the Army subject to Senate confirmation. Viola, a 1977 graduate of West Point, is the founder of Virtu Financial and bought the Panthers in 2013. Trump and Viola apparently met last week at Trump Tower in New York. “I am proud to have such an incredibly accomplished and selfless individual as Vincent Viola as our Secretary of the Army,” Trump said in a statement. “Whether it is his distinguished military service or highly impressive track record in the world of business, Vinnie has proved throughout his life that he knows how to be a leader and deliver major results in the face of any challenge. “He is a man of outstanding work ethic, integrity, and strategic vision, with an exceptional ability to motivate others. The American people, whether civilian or military, should have great confidence that Vinnie Viola has what it takes to keep America safe and oversee issues of concern to our troops in the Army.” Viola, who founded the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, says the nomination is a “great honor.” confirmed, I will work tirelessly to provide our president with the land force he will need to accomplish any mission in support of his National Defense Strategy,” Viola said in the release. “A primary focus of my leadership will be ensuring that America’s soldiers have the ways and means to fight and win across the full spectrum of conflict. This great honor comes with great responsibility, and I will fight for the American people and their right to live free every day.” According to the Florida Panthers, ownership of the team would remain in the Viola family pending confirmation. Doug Cifu, a partner of Viola’s with the Panthers as well as Virtu Financial, would become chairman and governor of Sunrise Sports and Entertainment. “Our hockey team has always been proud to be part of Mr. Viola’s legacy,” Florida’s Dale Tallon said. “We admire his dedication to his country and are excited to watch him pursue this new endeavor.” Panthers CEO and West Point graduate Matthew Caldwell: “We are honored and humbled to see Mr. Viola nominated as the Secretary of the Army. We could not be more proud for Vinnie and his dedication to our country.” Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/nhl/florida-panthers/article121729109.html#storylink=cpy
What a wacky month its been at FLApanthers HQ. Wacky year in general. Fire like 30 people, bring in a new staff, flip the team over to make them totally analytics based, fire the fan favorite coach, become old school hockey enemy number 1, and then have your owner become Secretary of the Army. It’s not crazy by any means given the military background Viola imposes on everything including this team, but just making this season more of a circus act than it already was is just crazy. Stability is something we’ve wanted for a long time and it felt like we had it by the end of last year and now it’s all up in the air again. Like we thought it was bad when Jeffrey Loria steps in mid season to fuck around with the Marlins. Well Vinnie Viola stepped in to mess around with the player personnel, and now President-elect Donald trump stuck his fingers into BB&T center and is messing around with Vinnie Viola. Some how this is gonna trickle down and effect with the players somehow. Wish we could hear Vinnie say he’s rejecting the offer because he’s 100% committed to this South Florida Hockey Franchise, but we just know he’s gonna jump to represent the Army any way possible. It’s like in the guy’s DNA. And who knows how things will change. Shouldn’t be to crazy I don’t think considering everyone in that organization front office is hand picked by Viola so the direction should still be the same but don’t be caught off guard if half the roster is sent to fight in the Syrian Civil War and combat ISIS.