After Mike Matheson and a few other players honored those affected by the mass shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport last Friday, the Florida Panthers decided to do something as a team.
For Friday’s home game against the New York Islanders — and for Saturday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets as well — the hockey team will wear decals with the airport’s code letters ‘FLL.’
“We wanted to pay tribute to the victims and their families,” team president and CEO Matthew Caldwell said.
“We wanted to show our support for the Fort Lauderdale and South Florida community. It was important to our players. This hit close to home. We wanted to show we remember and feel for those who are still suffering from this terrible act of violence.”
Florida played its game against Nashville last week just hours after the shootings happened with a number of players including Matheson writing the ‘FLL’ initials on their skate in marker.
“I was sitting in my apartment when I heard the news, and it’s pretty crazy when you think of what happened,” Matheson said after Florida’s 2-1 win over the Predators.
“I wanted to do something to recognize the people who were affected but also people who stepped in and probably saved a lot of lives today. ... It’s tough to see something like that happen anywhere much less five minutes from where I live.”
The Panthers fly in and out of Fort Lauderdale (although they don’t use the main terminal) as it is just a 20-minute drive east of their arena in Sunrise.