Roberto Luongo, the now 38-year-old goalie for the Florida Panthers, gave a powerful speech at last night’s Panthers’ game, the team’s first game at home since the deadly Parkland shooting that left 17 dead.
The Florida Panthers, who play their games in Sunrise, Florida, are the only major league professional sports team in Broward County, located not too far from Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
Luongo, who is a father-of-two, spoke for over four minutes, calling for change and praising the efforts and strength of the survivors.
"We will find strength in each other." FOX Sports Florida's Randy Moller addresses the crowd before the game between the Florida Panthers and the Washington Capitals. #FlaPanthers #MSDStrong #NHL #OneTerritory pic.twitter.com/3rkwX2LOAw
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Check out the full transcript of Luongo’s speech below:
“I just want to start off by saying that I live in Parkland,” Luongo said, his voice growing from shaky to stern.
“I’ve been living there for the past 12 years. My wife was born and raised in that area. My kids go to school in Parkland. When I’m done playing hockey, I want to spend the rest of my life in Parkland. I love that city.
“Last week was Valentine’s Day. I was in Vancouver. Obviously, we all know happened. It was hard for me to be on the West Coast and not be able to get back home and protect my family. No child should have to go through that. It’s terrible. It’s time for us as a community to take action. It’s enough. Enough is enough. We got to take action.
“To the families of the victims, our hearts are broken for you guys. There’s not much to say. It’s heartbreaking. You guys are in our thoughts. We’ve been thinking about you every day constantly for the last week. Just to know that we’re there for you if you guys need anything. You’ll be in our prayers. Let’s try and move on together. Last, just two more things.
“Just to the teachers of the school, you guys are heroes protecting your children. Some of them didn’t make it, trying to protect children. That is truly what a hero is. Those people need to be put on a pedestal for the rest of their lives.
“The last thing I want to say is since last Wednesday, I’ve been watching the news and I’ve been seeing what the kids from Stoneman Douglas have been doing. I am very, very proud of you guys. You guys are brave. You guys are an inspiration to all of us. At the end of the day, you guys are what’s giving us hope for the future.
Furthermore, in addition to Luongo’s emotional pregame speech, the Panthers removed all of the advertisements around the rink, replacing them with the term “MSD Strong”. On their jerseys, the team had “MSD” patches sewn onto the sleeves and wore Marjory Stoneman Douglas hats on the ice during pregame warmups.