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Vinny Viola, Florida Panthers Owner

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
May 1, 2023 7:12 pm

Vinny Viola, Florida Panthers Owner

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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May 1, 2023 7:12 pm

Vinny Viola joined Zach to discuss his emotions after the Panthers upset the Bruins in the first round and if he would rather win the Stanley Cup or Kentucky Derby.

Zach Gelb Show
Zach Gelb

Let's walk instead of drive. Talk instead of text.

Stay out late and count the stars. Let's get back to the things that matter. Welcome to Kinston, a new site of Sentara in Loveland, Colorado. For people seeking a new home in a new kind of place. Where homes are full of character, life is full of variety. And community means people spending time together.

Models are open and new homes are selling. Join us at Vinny, first off, congratulations. Just what a tremendous performance last night. The team just refused to give up on themselves. I have a big smile listening to the replay, the call. I got to tell you, my feet haven't touched the ground. And I'm just so, so happy for our fans in South Florida because they rode this roller coaster for a long time with us. I'm not saying that the roller coaster type ride isn't over, but I'll tell you what, the highs are getting higher and the lows are getting higher.

So that's a good trend. Unbelievable game. Unbelievable effort. The coaches, staff, they never wavered in their confidence.

It's kind of infectious. You can just see it in the players and how they played. How did you process the goal in the final minute and the overtime winner? Because Vinny, I'm a huge hockey fan. I go nuts during this Rangers game that's going to happen tonight. And I'm just a fan. You're the owner of the team.

This is your squad and they did that last night. Yeah, so I'm a fan first. Full stop fan, fan. Ranger fan my whole life. Had the opportunity to buy this Florida Panther team, which I always liked.

And really, I knew I'd be relocating to Florida. Perfect situation. I took off my Ranger jersey, put on my Panther jersey, never looked back. Love the Rangers. Truthfully, I'm kind of rooting for my Rangers tonight to be told probably completely inappropriate for an owner to say. How was that feeling? How was that feeling as a fan? As a fan, I was 51 percent like, we're going to do this.

I don't know how. But as an owner, I was please, please let's do this for the fans. I wanted so badly for our fans to be able to distinguish something our team has accomplished.

That's really quite unique. And I don't like I don't like to speak in terms of upsets, but what they accomplished. Being down three one, winning two games in overtime to really I think the standard of excellence in hockey organizations or the organization of hockey are the Boston Bruins. I mean, the Jacobs family and how that team's run by Cam Neely all the way through Donnie Sweeney to the coaches.

Just superb. And watching when I as a fan, watching Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand hold each other so tightly and so emotionally, I got choked up for the sport. I really did for the sport. What does it say about your team that they were able to complete this three one comeback up against a juggernaut of a team like we were talking about with the Boston Bruins?

It really speaks everything to the process that Bill Zito put in place when he came in. It's a process about doing things right, simplifying the game, playing for each other, keeping the room very, very much focused on the fact that, hey, guys, you started to play this game at a very young age. You dreamt of these games and you love the sport. Play the game like you loved the sport when you were a kid.

Your first, you know, your first junior championship. Keep that spirit. What does it say?

It says that they have a real core character and a bunch of fortitude and, quite frankly, belief in each other. I mean, if you look at that last play, Kuchuk and Bennett, what they did, they were up against I don't know how many Bruins and you could see you could almost feel the telepathy between the two of those players. They knew they were to come out with that with that puck. I just as a hockey fan, Jackie said, you're a fan.

There's no sport like it. When Bennett had that puck on his stick, I'm like, we're going to get a good shot out of this. And if you notice the thing, Kuchuk comes right around in front of Swamin, it was like magical, magical hockey.

Owner of the Panthers, Vinny Viola here with us after it was just a remarkable night for the sport and for the Florida Panthers last night. You know what it's like to win the president's trophy and then not get it done in the postseason. Last year, swept in the second round, made some changes. And now here you are, you're playing the second round, just knocking off the team that was historical and won the president's trophy. What did your team learn about last year's shortcomings in that second round? I think, I think they probably when they looked at themselves at the end of the, at the end of the series, they realized it just, they weren't good enough.

That the style of play and the temple play after the play and the collective around their play by Zach, by that I mean the collective dedication, the collective unity around where everybody was, what they wanted to do for each other, simplifying the game. I think they looked and said, we're not, we're not ready. We're not ready for this level of hockey.

I have to, I have to just make one slight correction. I know you meant to say Toronto, but you mentioned that we're going to play Tampa. I mean, that's another huge upset in my, in my mind. And I'm happy for Larry Tannenbaum and Toronto, the Toronto Maple Leafs, because we're going to, we're going to Toronto play the original six Toronto Maple Leafs tomorrow.

And we couldn't be happier just for the honor of being up in Toronto playing them. You got to pinch yourself because what I love the most is, is you said you grew up as a fan. I know you've now owned the Panthers for, for 10 years to just be able to keep on advancing. This gotta be pretty surreal for you.

It's surreal, but it's become so much less. You know, listen, you have to have an ego, whether it's healthy or unhealthy to take on owning a sports team, but at some point down the line, you get really humbled really fast. And you realize that your, your mission, your, your, your duty is to create a team that the community can be super proud, super dedicated to, and quite frankly makes their lives better. So for us, that win last night for our fans who really quite frankly have stuck with us for a very long time without many great dividends, it was great winning the president's trophy last year.

Everybody loved it. It was not nice getting eliminated the second round. So it is surreal, but it's more surreal because I realized the impact on the average Panther fan will transcend this season. Does that make sense? Zach, what I'm saying?

No, I totally get it. Vinny Viola here with us, the owner of the Panthers. I got to ask you about this because it doesn't annoy a lot of people, but teams do this in the playoffs, the restricting the home ticket sales, you know, to us residents only. Why did you guys end up doing that? I know it's so you don't get a bunch of Maple Leafs fans in your building, but I don't, I don't think we did. Did we do that? I'm shocked if we did know what we did was we know I think here's what I think we did.

And you can correct me if I'm wrong. Okay. We, we offered out flat out.

When, when you ask me a question, you just get unvarnished response. We offered out all of our season ticket holders, uh, to renew their tickets and they'd get basically flat, flat pricing for rounds one and two. And then we put out 500, 700 seats at a time to test the market. Cause our market's a fickle market, Zach. You know, most, most games we get a good, it's a transient community. We got a good, a good amount of, uh, of, uh, visiting teams, but I don't think we restricted it by zip code. I'll, I'll ask my guys and Matt Colo can get on the phone with you and tell you why.

Uh, because I'll tell you what, we had a hell of a lot of brewing fans, both, both, I mean, huge amount of brewing fans, both games, and I expect even more Toronto fan. So, um, I don't, I don't really, at the end of, at the end of the day, I don't think that works. So if my guys are doing that, I would ask them like, why are you doing that? It really doesn't work. So anyway, that's my answer to that. I apologize for my, my ignorance about it.

I should know, but I don't. Oh, it's all right. By the way, did you put in a favor or ask for a favor with Gary Bettman? I know you have the favorite for the Derby too. I did.

I did. I'm like, Gary, if I could ask one favor, please, please not. I asked him two favors. Please don't put us on at home the same night that the heat's going to be playing at home because you know, South Florida is a great market and those are two great teams. And I want all of the sports fans to have access to both teams. Like I'd like to go to a heat game. Right. And as far as the Kentucky Derby, I realized that the playoffs Trump, you know, their, their scheduling is important, but I did ask him if he could, if he could hold off and let us play Sunday, we'll see what happens.

You'd rather win the triple crown of the Stanley cup? Uh, uh, well, hi, man. I took, wow.

You're really blessed to be right between the eyeballs, man. I can't answer that right now because you just split my emotional state in half. I'm incapable of responding. If I, if I had a select one, I couldn't, I couldn't, I honestly could not answer you.

That's it. They're both, they're both super special. Uh, they both come around, they both come around per team around the same statistical distribution, right? Most teams win it like every once every 25, 30 years or so, right? If you average it out and we have a triple crown winner between 25 and 30 years. So they're both as rare statistically.

I'm just blessed that my family loves both sports. We all participate in it together. I know that's kind of a hedged answer, but you just blasted me right between the eyeballs. Did not expect, I did not expect that question. Great question.

Well, you know what? It's like asking a parent. It's like when I asked my parent, who's your favorite child? You know, you're never going to get the answer on that one.

No, no. And you know, in your heart, they got to lean towards one of the, one of your siblings or you, you know, it's just human nature, right? But, uh, I, having said that, I really feel I love each of my three sons split down the middle equally, but you know, at times I'll answer the question this way. I think it is so important to the Florida communities to see this team fulfill its potential that I would just sort of kind of pull for that result because it impacts so many millions of people.

That's really what I would say. It's got to be infectious, right? Because you see the NCAA tournament at FAUN Miami. We know what the Heat have done. And now the Panthers in the second round. It's a pretty cool time to be a Florida sports fan.

Big time. And you know what? It's jumping down in South Florida. A bunch of people are coming down from all over the country and they're really engaging the communities.

They're engaged. Like we're selling a lot of tickets to people who've just moved down. That wherever the, you know, whatever team they left behind, be it Minnesota, be it Colorado, and I'm making those teams up randomly, but they're engaging the sports community in South Florida. And quite frankly, with guys like Bill Zito running the Florida Panthers and Pat Riley running the Miami Heat, you know, we've got a great owner at the Miami Dolphins and Steve Ross. I mean, good stuff's happening. And Bruce Sherman is super, super committed to the Marlins and they're playing legitimate baseball. I mean, I can't wait to catch a game with him coming up soon. So it's a good time to be a South Florida sports fan.

It really is. And last thing I'll ask you, I'm sure Vinny Vail, you'll be attending quite a few St. John's games, right? With your buddy Mike Repoli now. Big time. Now, you know, I have to, I have to catch up to Mike because, you know, Mike, Mike had some strong opinions about St. John's previously, but now with Rick there and, you know, Rick is a horseman, you know, Rick is a horse owner.

I don't know if you know that. So he, Mike and I spend a lot of time at the track together. I would say we were going to catch a lot of games and really try to help Rick bring back the countersecond era. I mean, who could beat the Redmond of St. St. John's Redmond? Fantastic. I know they're not called the Redmond anymore. I think they're called the Red Storm, but back in the day when they were called the Redmond, it was a magnificent, magnificent tradition that Cornicek could put in place there. And he's still going strong.

I think Louie's 95 or 96. So how about that? Well, Vinnie, once again, congratulations to your club. It was an awesome night, not only for Florida Panthers fans, but the entire sport also with the game between Seattle and Colorado. Good luck coming up against Toronto and we'll do it again soon. Zach, thanks for having me, pal. Let's walk instead of drive. Talk instead of text. Stay out late and count the stars.

Let's get back to the things that matter. Welcome to Kinston, a new site of Sentara in Loveland, Colorado, for people seeking a new home in a new kind of place. Where homes are full of character, life is full of variety, and community means people spending time together. Models are open and new homes are selling. Join us at
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-01 20:15:11 / 2023-05-01 20:21:29 / 6

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