How the Panthers make money despite, er, losing money

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If you’ve ever wondered why anyone would want to own a money-losing NHL team in South Florida, Panthers president Michael Yormark puts it this way:

“I often tell people, we’re in the entertainment business and we happen to own a hockey team. For us, it’s just about providing as much entertainment as we possibly can for our community.”

The “we” Yormark refers to is actually the Panthers’ parent company Sunrise Sports & Entertainment (SSE), which owns both the NHL club as well as an entity called Arena Operating Company (AOC), which as you may have guessed, operates the Sunrise arena in which the Panthers play, the BB&T Center.

The Panthers, as a standalone NHL franchise, aren’t profitable, according to estimates.

But AOC is.

Without the Panthers, however, there wouldn’t be an AOC. That’s because, back in the ‘90s, Broward County built the arena to lure the NHL franchise out of Miami. As part of the deal, the team’s ownership company was granted a 30-year license to operate the arena.

The hockey team, in other words, was the foot in the door.

“We’ve got a niche in the marketplace with our hockey team and a very loyal fanbase,” Yormark tells Forbes, “but our value proposition is all about the entertainment. It’s 170-200 events a year, almost two million people in this building on an annual basis, and we have been successful.”

This Friday, for example, the BB&T Center will host Beatdown 2012, a boxing competition with musical performances by Flo Rida, Fabolous, Waka Flocka, DMX, Travis Porter and Fat Joe. (Tickets are still available!)

Without the Panthers, there’s no rent from Beatdown 2012.

SSE also recently partnered with a Las Vegas gaming company in an attempt to build a casino on land around the arena.

“We are beginning to make a shift into the real estate business with this new venture,” said Yormark.

Without the Panthers, there’s no real estate business.

All of which is surely frustrating for the players, who are being asked to accept a smaller share of hockey-related revenues to offset owners’ losses that are, in some cases, being made up in other areas.

*****The Cult of Hockey and Defending Big D also wrote extensively on this.

WATCH LIVE: Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators – Game 6

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Last night, the Nashville Predators demoralized the Ducks and advanced to their first-ever Stanley Cup Final. Will we learn their opponent tonight or on Thursday?

That’s up to how the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators perform in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Will Sidney Crosby and the Penguins follow that 7-0 rout with a close-out performance, or will Erik Karlsson and the Senators avenge that embarrassing loss to send this series to a decisive Game 7?

Find out on NBCSN at tonight. You can also watch the game online and via the NBC Sports App.

Here’s what you need to know:

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators (Pens lead 3-2)

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)

Check out the highlights from Pittsburgh’s 7-0 win in Game 5

Related:

Pens redefining defense by committee

Four things the Pens need to do to eliminate the Sens

Swedish League champ sees another sign in NHL

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It’s an offseason of change for SHL champion HV71.

In the days following the league title, HV71 saw No. 1 goalie Linus Soderstrom sign his ELC with the Isles and d-man Andreas Borgman — the league’s rookie of the year — ink with the Leafs.

Earlier today, HV71 winger Filip Sandberg signed a two-year deal with San Jose. Shortly after that, Columbus announced it inked Sandberg’s running mate up front, Kevin Stenlund, to a three-year, entry-level deal.

Stenlund, 20, was the Blue Jackets’ second-round pick (58th overall) at the 2015 draft. He’s coming off a good year, setting career highs in goals, assists, points and games played during the regular season, then adding 10 points in 16 playoff appearances.

And he might have a chance to build on that campaign.

Per the Dispatch, the Blue Jackets expect Stenlund to play next year in Sweden, rather than try to make the move overseas. It’s possible the Isles could make the same decision with Soderstrom — meaning it’s not all bad for HV71.

 

Oilers re-sign Pakarinen for one year

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The Edmonton Oilers have given winger Iiro Pakarinen a one-year contract extension.

From the release:

Pakarinen just finished his third season with the Oilers organization, appearing in 14 regular season games in 2016-17, posting four points (2 goals, 2 assists).  The 25 year old forward missed 53 games due to an injury suffered during the pre-season. He appeared in one playoff game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Oilers brought Pakarinen over from Finland in 2014. Since then, he’s split his North American career between the AHL and NHL while drawing praise for his versatility and hard-nosed style.

Per CapFriendly, Pakarinen’s cap hit will be $750,000 in 2017-18. It’s a one-way deal.

Market heating up for prized Czech d-man Rutta

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Coming off an impressive performance for the Czech Republic at the World Hockey Championship, Jan Rutta is now being courted by a number of NHL clubs.

Per The Athletic, the Blackhawks are in contention for securing Rutta’s services. That comes on the heels of earlier reports from TSN’s Darren Dreger, who said there are “multiple” offers for the 26-year-old, including ones from Edmonton and Calgary.

“He’s a steady defenseman with size, and he had a strong finish of the season,” an NHL scout told The Athletic. “He was very good in the playoffs and played his best at the Worlds.”

Rutta, who was never drafted by an NHL club, has spent his professional career with Czech League outfit Pirati Chomutov. He’s blossomed into a talented offensive defenseman — finishing second among Czech League d-men with 32 points in 46 games this year — and, as mentioned above, has good size at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds.

Last week, Rutta’s agent — longtime Octagon Hockey representative Allan Walsh — tweeted that his client would make a decision on NHL offers soon.