Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson has earned himself a spot with the team full-time. Coach Kevin Dineen made the announcement in front of the entire team at the morning skate before Thursday's game in Ottawa.
It led to some great moments both on and off the ice.
First, there was this. Gudbranson being congratulated by his teammates and then doing the old riding the stick across the ice. It's awesome to see a moment like this, which is usually done privately, caught on camera.
“I was wondering how I was going to deliver it," Dineen said. "A lot of times in this business you’re delivering bad news, so it’s nice to let someone know that’s a heck of an occasion, not only for him but for his family, his minor-league coaches, a lot of people can really enjoy that. “Playing in your hometown there’s enough stuff going on already so I picked the right call to let him know and let him know in front of his teammates."
Gudbranson's family was in attendance at the skate, so obviously they were around when it was announced Erik was staying in the NHL. His dad, Wayne, could hardly contain himself. From Harvey Filakov at the Sun-Sentinel
In the stands, Gudbranson’s father Wayne broke down and couldn’t even speak to reporters because he was overcome with emotion when witnessing the on-ice celebration. It’s also special because Gudbranson grew up nearby and skated on this ice as a 5-year-old Pee-wee player when he was rooting for the Sens. His whole family will be in the stands tonight, except for brother Alex, who plays for his old junior team the Kingston Frontenacs.
Gudbranson was mobbed by the Ottawa media.
“It’s exciting and I’m really pumped," said Gudbranson, who doled out about 25 tickets for tonight’s game. “It was nice my dad was in the crowd for morning skate, so he got to see it. As much as it’s a dream for me I’m pretty sure it’s twice as exciting to see his kid do that and I give [my family] all the credit in the world."