Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo has strong ties to Parkland, Florida, the site of the Valentine’s Day mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead.
Luongo has spent several years playing for the Panthers whose home arena in Sunrise, Florida is just 10 miles south of Parkland. He first played for the Panthers from 2000-06 and has remained with the team since rejoining in 2014.
Before Thursday’s home game against the Washington Capitals, Luongo addressed the arena with an emotional speech proclaiming his love for his home and support of the students who have lobbied in the media and with lawmakers to change the laws that make it easy for people to get their hands on assault rifles like the one used in last week’s massacre.
An emotional Roberto Luongo addresses the home crowd prior to tonight's game, saying he is inspired by how the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas have responded after the school shooting last Wednesday. #MSDStrong #NHL #FlaPanthers #OneTerritory pic.twitter.com/KV1ERJvr7l
— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) February 23, 2018
“I live in Parkland,” Luongo said. “I’ve been living there for the last 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.
“It’s time for us as a community to take action. It’s enough. Enough is enough.”
Luongo acknowledged the bravery of the teachers and coaches who helped protect students during the shooting before supporting the students for their campaign.
“I am very very proud of you guys,” Luongo said. “You guys are brave. You guys are an inspiration to all of us. And at the end of the day, you guys are what’s giving us hope for the future.”