The Florida Panthers held a ceremonial groundbreaking today in celebration of the organization’s $65 million revitalization of the Fort Lauderdale War Memorial Auditorium and construction of a new state-of-the-art practice and community ice facility.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, District 2 Commissioner Steven Glassman as well as distinguished South Florida community and business leaders joined Florida Panthers Chairman, Owner & Governor Vincent J. Viola and CEO & President Matt Caldwell in sharing exciting new project announcements, including an extension of a long-standing partnership between the Panthers and Baptist Health South Florida with the naming of the ‘Baptist Health IcePlex.’
Slated to debut in Summer 2022, the Baptist Health IcePlex will feature two regulation-sized indoor ice rinks, including a dedicated public rink offering a robust variety of youth and adult hockey programs, public skating, and figure skating for community members of all ages. The Panthers official practice rink will feature stadium seating for up to 1,000 fans during practices and training camps, which will be free and open to the public, and further support community programming.
“We are incredibly excited to strengthen our already rewarding partnership with the Florida Panthers with the renovation of a community landmark, which will be known as the Baptist Health Iceplex,” said Javier Hernandez-Lichtl, CEO of Baptist Health’s Doctors Hospital and Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute. “The vision for this facility aligns with our organization’s values to not just serve as a trusted healthcare provider, but to engage and empower the community through unique programs, services and partnerships that will bring new opportunities for the Panthers and the community at large for years to come.”
During the event, the Panthers also announced the Baptist Health IcePlex as the future home of the Florida Panthers Foundation Youth Hockey Scholarship Program with a special jersey presentation to introduce the Scholarship’s first young recipients. Created in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County to increase access, inclusion, and diverse representation within the sport of hockey in South Florida, the Scholarship Program will cover the full cost of skating and hockey training, equipment, practice clinics, and more for each of the 10 selected boys & girls, ages 7-10, throughout their entire hockey journey.
Upon its completion, the 144,000 sq. ft. venue will also house South Florida’s first-of-its-kind ballroom setup performance theater, with plans for a 10-year agreement with Live Nation as the official programming partner. Under the stewardship of the veteran-owned and led Florida Panthers, the War Memorial Auditorium will also continue to serve as an honored tribute to Broward County’s fallen military heroes and ceremonial front door for this new world-class complex.
“The community has been at the heart of this project from its inception,” said Mr. Viola. “As we begin a new chapter here in this great city, from the bottom of my heart and my wife Teresa’s heart, we are very honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to serve this community.”
“This is a tremendous day for the city of Fort Lauderdale as we begin the construction of a new and improved War Memorial Auditorium campus,” Mayor Dean J. Trantalis said. “Through a unique partnership with the Florida Panthers, we are expanding recreational opportunities to the community with ice rinks available to the public, expanding business development by attracting the Panthers training facility and youth program to our community, and ensuring a future of family-friendly programming at War Memorial that is accessible to all members of our community. I look forward to returning here about a year from now and re-opening this incredible venue.”