7 Jun 2021

Florida Panthers break ground on new practice facility

Media Stage recently provided the A/V for the ceremonial groundbreaking at FTL War Memorial, the site that will be used not only for the Florida Panthers’ practice facility but will also serve as the home to numerous local youth hockey programs. The venue is set to open in 2022, so this ceremony was the first official gathering on the grounds.

There were quite a few distinguished guests present from the organization, including Owner & Governor Vinnie Viola, President & CEO Matt Caldwell, Head Coach Joel Quennville, Special Advisor to General Manager (and former fan favorite netminder!) Roberto Luongo, Chief Commercial Officer Shawn Thornton, Play-by-Play announcer Steve Goldstein, Color Analyst Randy Moller and many others. There was also great representation from the league, most notably Commissioner Gary Bettman.

The audiovisual support we provided for the set consisted of a professional staging complement, a surround sound audio package complete with a full array of wireless mics and an LED wall that sat atop a pop-up trailer behind the set. We controlled all video and camera switching from the trailer, as it served as our “backstage” in this set-up.

The guests were all seated underneath a large tent that enclosed both the seating area and stage. As this was technically an outdoor event in the late spring in South Florida, we were well prepared with tarps and other protective measures just in case mother nature wanted to make things fun! Luckily, the sun shined during the whole event and there was minimal wind to have to deal with.

The timing of this event could not have come during a more exciting portion of the NHL schedule; the team was in the midst of their first round Stanley Cup Playoffs matchup against their cross-state rival Tampa Bay Lightning. The ceremony fell on the day in between Games 5 and 6, so some of the front office and coaching staff had to leave immediately after their introductions to catch their flight to Tampa. The energy was incredible, and they received quite a send-off from those in attendance.

We are so thankful we got to be a part of this commemorative and special event! This project – a $65 million revitalization of the original Fort Lauderdale War Memorial Auditorium – is certainly no small undertaking and is a perfect example of the franchise’s commitment to future success. The momentum for hockey in South Florida is at an all-time high, and that was definitely on display during the groundbreaking ceremony!