A Special Post for a Special Friend

Hey LABO Nation,

It's not often that I write a blog post for the site.  After all, LABO has always been, and will continue to be, a sports law video blog.  Needless to say, something very special happened yesterday that required me to write a special blog entry today.

If you're a hockey fan, then you know that the NHL Draft Lottery was held yesterday, in which the Florida Panthers won the #1 overall pick in the 2014 draft.  And sitting in the TSN Studios in Toronto, Canada was one of my best friends, Travis Viola.  Last year, Travis and his family became the new owners of the Florida Panthers, taking their NY roots down to Sunrise, Florida, with the hopes of developing a winning mantra in a young and developing hockey club.

Travis talking to TSN shortly after the Panthers won the first overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft Lottery,

Travis and I go back to 2009, when he and I sat next to each other in a film class at Fordham University.  Little did we know that we'd hit it off so well.  We both not only loved Hitchcock, but we loved baseball, the Beatles, and family.  That bond has only grown tighter.  While I went on to law school and Travis graduated from Fordham in 2010, we remained very good friends.

But what's especially special about Travis and his friendship is that he has been a devout supporter and advocate of LABO since Day 1.  He has been one of the most hardcore viewers of LABO.  In fact, in my eyes, he is one of the first members of LABO Nation.  He even appeared in LABO's Taking it To The Streets episode!  When he took on the role of VP of Hockey Operations for the Panthers, he NEVER cut ties with me or with LABO.  And for that I will be immensely grateful to Travis for his loyalty and sincerity as a friend.

Travis Viola, left, when he made his appearance on LABO's Taking it To The Streets episode in July 2013.

And as I watched the NHL Draft Lottery live yesterday, I screamed with jubilation, because it wasn't the hockey club that won the first draft pick.  Rather, it was one of my BEST FRIENDS who won.  And I honestly couldn't have been happier for him.  You can see my reaction below, documented live on my personal Instagram account.

So with that, Travis, congrats to you, your family, and the entire Florida Panthers organization on this immense moment of winning the #1 overall draft pick.  You definitely represented LABO Nation loudly and proudly yesterday evening!  LABO Nation, please join me in congratulating Travis on his massive achievement!

- Tony