Hockey Headlines

Friday, 3 February 2017

Big Cat Will Remain

The hockey world was a little shocked when the current President of the United States dipped into the hockey world to tap Florida Panthers owner Vincent J. Viola as Secretary of the Army. Considering that Viola has a military background, it's not hard to see why he may have made this pick, but the fact that Viola would consider it based on his business dealings and, of course, the work he's doing with the Panthers as their owner made it a little curious to see him possibly abandon these posts. Today, it seems that common sense won out when it came to the opportunity.

According to Bloomberg, Viola is reportedly withdrawing his candidacy for the Secretary of Army position after he found it too difficult to sever ties to the business world. He has 35 years of experience in the business world, founding companies such as Virtu Finanacial and owning an NHL team, and the effort in "separating from the organizations that he has built over the last 35 years have proven insurmountable, said two of the people familiar with Viola's decision, who asked not to be named."

If you're wondering how Viola even got included into the conversation for a cabinet position under the President, Bloomberg cited a Miami Herald story that stated, "Trump and Viola may have forged a connection last year when the plane used by the Florida Panthers was repurposed to fly Trump's vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence around the country during the campaign". With Viola holding interest in an airline company, it would seem that interest would be one of the factors that may have tripped up his candidacy as Viola was trying to get into another airline company who holds government contracts. That would be seen a definite conflict of interest, so Viola may be using that business deal as one of his reasons for withdrawing.

Honestly, with Florida on the edge of a playoff spot, Viola will be needed down the stretch if the Panthers are looking to add pieces for a playoff run. They have cap space to add a player or two if they feel they need an injection of talent, and I'm thinking it would require sign-off by the majority owner of the Panthers if they are adding salary to the bottom line.

Mr. Viola will not be going to Washington after all, and I think he will be better off for it. He has a lot of business ties that make him a pile of money, and it's clear that he's involved in a number of them. While the honour of being considered is a great honour, Mr. Viola's businesses certainly need him just as much or more than the President's cabinet.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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