Wayne Huizenga, who died at age 80 on Friday, had a long history in South Florida sports.
The one-time owner of three different professional teams — and of the once ubiquitous Blockbuster Video — Huizenga made an indelible mark on the sports landscape along with his family’s philanthropy.
Here’s a timeline of some of his major achievements.
-Dec. 29: Harry Wayne Huizenga is born in Evergreen Park, Illinois.
-Huizenga and his family move to South Florida.
-Huizenga and two associates found Waste Management Inc., which began with single garbage truck in Fort Lauderdale and grew into a Fortune 500 company.
-Huizenga acquires Blockbuster Video, according to CNBC. He helps grow the chain, turning it into the largest video rental company in the nation before selling it for more than $8 billion in 1994.
-March 8: Huizenga buys a 15-percent stake in the Miami Dolphins.
-June 10: A Huizenga-led ownership group is awarded a Major League Baseball expansion franchise.
-Dec. 10: The National Hockey League awards Huizenga an expansion franchise.
-April 5: Huizenga’s baseball team, then named the Florida Marlins, win their first game, 6-3 over the Dodgers at Joe Robbie Stadium (now named Hard Rock Stadium). Charlie Hough, a 45-year-old Hialeah native, makes the first start.
-Oct. 7: The Florida Panthers draw, 4-4, with the Chicago Blackhawks in their first NHL regular-season game. The Panthers play their first game in South Florida on Oct. 13, losing 2-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Miami Arena. The Panthers, under Huizenga, later move from Miami Arena to the National Car Rental Center in Sunrise (now named the BB&T Center).
-Jan. 24: Huizenga buys the remaining 85 percent of the Dolphins franchise from the Robbie family for $138 million. Huizenga was the majority owner of the Dolphins until 2009.
-The Panthers shock the hockey world, upsetting the Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins to earn a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Panthers ultimately lose to the Colorado Avalanche and have not played for a championship since.
-October: Following in the Panthers’ footsteps, the surprising Marlins make the playoffs and make it to the World Series. The Marlins win the championship on a game-winning hit up the middle by Craig Counsell, bringing South Florida its first pro championship since 1973. The Marlins followed the championship by trading many key players.
-Jan. 13: Huizenga’s sale of the Marlins to John Henry is approved.
-June 5: Huizenga sells his majority stake in the Panthers to a group that includes pharmaceuticals executive Alan Cohen and former University of Miami and NFL quarterback Bernie Kosar.
-Feb. 22: Huizenga sells 50 percent of the Dolphins to Palm Beach resident Stephen Ross. In 2009, Huizenga sells 45 percent to Ross, making Ross the majority owner of the team. For the first time since 1993, no South Florida team is primarily owned by Huizenga.
-March 23: Huizenga dies at the age of 80.