Panthers' Roberto Luongo gives emotional speech about Parkland school shooting
The 38-year-old Luongo has been a longtime Parkland resident and is a father of two
Florida is still attempting to recover from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that left 17 people dead, many of them teenage students. On Thursday night, Florida Panthers goalie and longtime Parkland resident Roberto Luongo addressed the crowd at BB&T Center before the Panthers got set to take on Washington Capitals.
The team remembered the victims of the shooting with a tribute video before puck drop, but Luongo wanted to speak about the incident and he was given a microphone and a few minutes to do so.
What followed was an emotional address by the 38-year-old father of two, who praised the heroes in the tragedy and shared thoughts for the families affected by the tragedy. Luongo also called for change and applauded the efforts of survivors, who have been proactive and bold in the aftermath.
You can watch Luongo's address below:
Here's the transcript, provided by the Florida Panthers.
"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.
Here's the tribute video that the Panthers showed before the game:
In addition, the team removed all board advertisements around the rink and replaced them with "MSD Strong" for the night. Player wore Marjory Stoneman Douglas hats on the ice during warmups and had "MSD" patches sewn into their jersey sleeves.
There was also a blood drive held at the arena on Thursday.
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