Back in December, a strange-looking sweatshirt was spotted hanging in the equipment room inside the Florida Panthers’ arena in Sunrise.
The royal-blue hoodie, for some odd reason, had a picture of actor Kevin Spacey’s face — apparently floating in space — ironed onto the front.
A day later, center Sasha Barkov was wearing the sweatshirt in the locker room after scoring twice in a win over Montreal.
A Miami Herald reporter took a picture of Barkov in the strange looking garb, came up with the Twitter hashtag #SpaceyInSpace and a legend was born.
Spacey In Space went viral across the social landscape, with the actor even chiming in by writing on Twitter, “only I know what #SpaceyInSpace means.”
The team is tight-lipped about what the sweatshirt means and a different player gets possession of it only following wins.
Now, anyone can wear one.
On Tuesday night, before the red-hot Panthers played host to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team put replicas of the sweatshirts on sale to the public.
For $40, fans can now wear the same silly looking sweatshirt Florida winger Shawn Thornton apparently brought into his team’s locker room after finding it during a road trip to New York.
The team says all proceeds from the sales of the sweatshirt — and they were brisk as the team’s Pantherland store at BB&T Center opened — benefit their team foundation as well as the Kevin Spacey Foundation.
“The mystery is killing me. I have no idea what it means, but it looks cool,” fan Jim Ball said as he purchased two of the sweatshirts while sporting a well-worn 1996 Florida Panthers baseball cap with rats embroidered on it atop his head.
Barkov, it should be noted, thanked Spacey in the Twitter post in which he broke the news he would be signing a six-year contract extension with the team on Monday night.
At his news conference Tuesday, Barkov admitted he knew the meaning of the sweatshirt but wasn’t about to inform the media of it.
“When we got the Spacey jersey we won 12 in a row right away,” Barkov said. “I can’t tell you why we got that jersey, but it’s a pretty funny thing.”
Kevin Spacey at a glance
Kevin Spacey is best known for his role as Francis Underwood on the Netflix original show House of Cards, for which he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a TV Series Drama. He is also a two-time Academy Award winner, for Best Supporting Actor (The Usual Suspects) and Best Actor (American Beauty). Some of Spacey’s other notable movies include Seven, A Time to Kill, Glengarry Glen Ross and L.A. Confidential.