Prior to Thursday’s game against the Washington Capitals, the Florida Panthers honored victims of last week’s shooting Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, which claimed the lives of 17 people.
Being that the high school is located about 14 miles from the Panthers’ BB&T Center, it’s not surprising that many players were highly emotional during the ceremony. Remarkably, Roberto Luongo gave an outstanding speech about his love for the Parkland area, where he’s spent 12 years of his life, and how the shootings affected his family and the community at large.
You can see a full transcript of Luongo’s emotional speech here and watch it in the video above this post’s headline.
NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika noted earlier today that Luongo’s son experienced a scare last week:
That’s just one of Cotsonika’s tweets about this emotional night; his full feed is worth your time.
The Panthers projected names of the victims on the ice during the pre-game ceremony, and also provided this beautiful tribute:
It says a lot about the composure of Luongo and the Panthers to go from such an emotional ceremony into a game against the Capitals, especially considering moments like these:
For more information, particularly how to support those affected, the Panthers’ website is a great place to start. You can also find out more about the Panthers’ tribute in this earlier PHT post.
Sadly, nights like these have been far too common lately, but credit the NHL and its teams for heartfelt responses to tragedies. Much like the Vegas Golden Knights opening their inaugural season without ads on the boards and with an emotional presentation, the Panthers handled this situation with class.