Sep 26, 2013; Estero, FL, USA; Florida Panthers goaltender Tim Thomas(34) smiles during the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Germain Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Panthers sold for $250 million, sign Tim Thomas


The Florida Panthers, which have been to the playoffs once since 2000 and had the worst record in the NHL last season, were purchased by Vincent Viola, chairman and CEO of Virtu Financial, an electronic trading firm with offices in the U.S., Singapore and Ireland. Viola, who spent a reported $250 million for the franchise, has a past that is certainly media-friendly.

Courtesy of the Associated Press:

Vincent Viola grew up in Brooklyn, graduated from West Point, is a former chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange and after the Sept. 11 attacks founded a center devoted to combating terrorism.

Viola, who grew up a Rangers fan, definitely has his work cut out for him. This is a team that went to the Stanley Cup finals in 1996 riding the initial wave of the Neutral Zone Trap and the incredible goaltending of John Vanbiesbrouck, and hasn’t had much fortune since then. However, now that the sale of the team has been finalized it can move forward with its plans of adding a celebrated veteran goalie reminiscent of the Beezer: former Detroit Viper and Boston Bruin Tim Thomas.

Thomas, who spent the last year with his family, and the years before that as a slightly 0ff-center Vezina and Conn Smythe winner, agreed to a 1-year deal worth $3-$4 million dollars.

Hopefully this new purchase and goalie signing can inject some life into this moribund franchise, and inspire future Power Ball winners to buy an NHL team while they’re still hot.

Tags: Florida Panthers Sale Tim Thomas