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Energetic, enthusiastic and confident: New Panthers GM Bill Zito anxious to get started

Florida GM job ’a dream come true’ for Zito

New Florida Panthers general manager Bill Zito is introduced by team president Matthew Caldwell at a press conference on September 2, 2020 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.
New Florida Panthers general manager Bill Zito is introduced by team president Matthew Caldwell at a press conference on September 2, 2020 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. (Florida Panthers)

SUNRISE, Fla. – Some recent Florida Panthers history was made at the BB&T Center on Wednesday.

For the first time in over a decade, the Panthers, who made the playoffs only twice during that time and haven’t won a postseason series in a quarter century, have hired a new general manager.

Nothing was restructured (Dale Tallon in 2017) and nobody was promoted (Tom Rowe in 2016).

Instead, Panthers President Matt Caldwell rolled up his sleeves and did things the old-fashioned way; he got to work.

Caldwell and Michael Viola, son of team owner Vincent Viola, spoke with more than a dozen candidates for hours at a time over a three-week period after Florida parted ways with Tallon on Aug. 10.

“I put my heart and soul into it,” said Caldwell. “I worked as hard as I possibly could.”

Vincent Viola and Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville were also involved in the process, which came to an end on Tuesday.

22 days after the search began, Viola, Caldwell and the rest of the Panthers brass knew they had found their man.


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