Bill Zito Hired as New General Manager of Florida Panthers

Author: Mansi


Panthers zeroed in a list of candidates in their endeavor to select a new general manager for the team. The list also included the names of a number of scouts & executives belonging to different teams & the group of analysts. The way the team has been moving with this — it looked like the Panthers would be picking a name that is not in the public. There were speculations making rounds that the deal is going to be locked in on Bill Zito, Associate GM for Columbus Blue Jackets. A formal announcement on the same took place on Wednesday.

About Bill Zito.

Bill Zito is a former attorney and professional sports agent. On Wednesday the formal announcement of him taking over as the new general manager of the Florida Panthers was announced. 

Zito, after completing his degree, practiced law in Chicago & New York. Later in 1995, he founded Acme World Sports, a sports agency. Through his academy, he also represented many NHL players & ice hockey players in Europe.

Acme World Sports, in 2013 got listed among the 8th highest-grossing hockey agency. In the same year, Zito became a part of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Later in 2015, Zito was hired as the General Manager of the Cleveland Monsters. Since then, he has been working with the Blue Jackets' affiliate club. On September 2, the Florida Panthers decided to hire Bill Zito as a general manager. 

Zito would be replacing Dale Tallon with his stint as the General manager for the Panthers. He and his familiarity with Sergei Bobrovsky, goaltender, could be good news for the Panthers after a disastrous season. This new change can be a fresh start for the team — there is a need for the team to replace Evgenii Dadonov & Mike Hoffman, the top forwards. Since 1996, there has not been any victory for the Florida Panthers and it would be Zito’s task to end the sorry streak in the least possible time. Panthers are employing Zito replacing Dale Tallon after the team failed to get through the Stanley Cup in the qualifying rounds and there would be a lot of responsibilities on Zito’s part.

The Intense Process that Followed Zito’s Hiring.

Before Zito was hired, the Panthers had to conduct an intense search to find the right person for the job. The team has interviewed as many as thirteen candidates and surprisingly Zito was not included in the list. There were broadcasters, assistant general managers & NHL GMs — included in the list.

Zito, in addition to being the co-founder of Acme World Sports, had also worked as an agent for around 20 years. In the later years, he became a part of the Blue Jackets where he worked to appreciation, the Jarmo Kekalainen, Blue Jackets GM said, “an astute businessman who understands all facets of our game.” It has been a great time for the Blue Jackets playing under Zito & Kekalainen, where the team has reached the playoffs in all the four seasons.

It has been a tough time for the Florida Panthers with the loss of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New York Islanders. And, that is when The Panthers decided to part away from Dale Tallon, Panthers’ long time general manager.

What Bill Zito has to say about his new Job with Panthers.

The team announced on Wednesday that Bill Zito will be the new general manager for the Florida Panthers. Here’s what Bill Zito had to say on this, "I'm humbled and honored to accept the position of General Manager of the Florida Panthers. I believe in this organization, and I am incredibly proud to be a part of it. Our team has great potential and I look forward to starting working together in building something special in South Florida. I can't wait to get to work."

Dale Tallon’s (who served for a long time with Florida Panthers as general manager) contract had expired this season. During the 10 years of Tallon’s stint, Panthers could make it to the postseason only three times. Tallon is also being investigated for a claim that says that the former general manager for Panthers had made a racial slur at the time when he was in the Toronto bubble.

On the induction of Zito, Panthers’ owner, Vincent Viola said, "Bill is an excellent mind in our game today who proved during his time with the Columbus Blue Jackets that he possesses great prowess for evaluating talent and building success. He brings great experience to our club and possesses a strong business acumen."

Zito will have to face the challenge during his stint with the Panthers. Will he be able to bring the team to a different level? Zito is not joining when the team is in good shape, he will have to make sure that the players are retooled as soon as possible. On top of that, this is the first time Zito is working for the National Hockey League, and it is a big responsibility for Zito. Let’s hope it comes out to be a victorious decision for the Panthers.



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