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General Manager of the Florida Panthers

Bill Zito is currently the General Manager of the Florida Panthers. In his first year, Zito has retooled the Panther’s roster, leading to a 2021 NHL Playoff appearance and the second best record in the Central Division.

Prior to joining the Panthers, Zito most recently served as Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations and NHL Alternate Governor of the Columbus Blue Jackets.  Zito had been responsible for overseeing all areas of hockey operations, including: player personnel, minor league operations, coaching hires, contract negotiations, scouting and player evaluation, the NHL draft, salary cap management, analytics, budgeting, staffing, team services, and development.  While in Columbus, the Blue Jackets sustained their best stretch in club history, posting the three best records in franchise history. Columbus registered 42 or more wins in five of the past six campaigns and earned four Stanley Cup Playoff berths during his tenure.

On the international scene, Zito was named general manager of the United States Men’s National Team that captured bronze at the 2018 IIHF World Championships in Denmark. Zito boldly named Patrick Kane team captain for the first time in his career and added diminutive, draft-eligible Quinn Hughes to the roster.  Zito was also previously named to the management group responsible for building the 2015 US Men’s National Team that captured bronze in Prague, and named to sit on the International Council of the board of USA Hockey.

Zito joined the Blue Jackets after using scouting as a platform to build Acme World Sports into one of the industry-leading hockey agencies. In 2014, Forbes ranked Acme as the sixth most valuable hockey agency in the world with almost $250 million in contracts under management. As the agency’s founder and president, he represented players such as Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Tim Thomas, Vezina Trophy winner Tuukka Rask, Stanley Cup-winners John Madden and Antti Niemi, and NHL All-Stars Kimmo Timonen and Brian Rafalski.

Outside of the office Zito is highly active within the community. In the summer of 2019, after his wife and mother were diagnosed with cancer on the same weekend, Zito pledged to participate in the Pelotonia 100-mile bicycle ride for Cancer in Columbus.  Given just 44 days to train and fundraise, Zito not only managed to finish the 100 miles, but he shattered the all-time individual fundraising record for the event. During the 20212-13 lock-out, he and client Adam Burish produced, promoted and orchestrated the sold-out Champs for Charity hockey game in Chicago generating over $325,000 for the Ronald McDonald House.

Zito is a graduate of Yale University where he played varsity hockey from 1984-87. Zito attended law school at the University of Wisconsin, while serving as an assistant coach for the Badgers’ hockey team. Upon earning his law degree, he went on to practice appellate litigation in Chicago before founding the Acme agency in 1995. Zito and his wife, Julie, are the parents of twin daughters, Gigi and Frankie, and son, Billy.

In the news

The Florida Panthers Are Winning, Both On And Off The Ice

First-year general manager Bill Zito has reshaped the roster around the strong core of players he inherited.

How Bill Zito Went From Perpetual Finalist to GM

On Sept. 1 2020, Zito was named the new general manager of the Florida Panthers, having served as the Columbus Blue Jackets’ assistant GM since 2013.