Florida Panthers

NHL will honor Douglas hockey at its awards show. Two Panthers could win big, too.

MSD goalie Nathan Shield holds the Stanley Cup proudly during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School hockey team’s practice on the ice at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, home of the Florida Panthers, on March 5, 2018.
MSD goalie Nathan Shield holds the Stanley Cup proudly during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School hockey team’s practice on the ice at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, home of the Florida Panthers, on March 5, 2018. dvarela@miamiherald.com

The NHL announced Monday that it will recognize three groups that received immense support from the hockey community following tragedies during its annual awards ceremony Wednesday night: the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School hockey team, the first responders from the Las Vegas shooting and the surviving members of the Humboldt Broncos junior team.

The Douglas club hockey team won the Florida state championship days after the Feb. 14 shooting at its Parkland high school in which gunman Nikolas Cruz killed 14 classmates and three faculty members. Jaime Guttenberg, the sister of junior varsity member Jesse Guttenberg, was one of the 17 victims.

At the Panthers' first home game following the shooting on Feb. 22, goalie Roberto Luongo gave an impassioned pregame speech commending the Douglas community for its efforts following the shooting. The Panthers also wore MSD patches on their jerseys throughout the season.

“I’ve been watching the news. I’ve been seeing what the kids from Douglas have been doing," Luongo said. "You guys are brave. You guys are an inspiration to all of us. You guys are what is giving us hope for the future.”

On March 5, the Douglas hockey team was presented with the Stanley Cup while practicing at the BB&T Center while the Panthers were on a road trip.

The NHL's two-hour awards event starts at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Las Vegas and will be televised on NBC Sports Network.

The Florida Panthers have finalists in two of the 12 awards.

Luongo is one of three in the running for the Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy, which is presented to the player who "best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey."

Center Aleksander Barkov, the Panthers' lone All-Star this season, is a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy, which is given to "the player voted to best combine sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and ability." Barkov, 22, had a breakout 2017-18 season, tallying a team-best 78 points and 51 assists while also scoring 27 goals. He was also second among forwards in average ice time (22:04) and accrued just 14 penalty minutes on the season.

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