By: Matt Rothman
The Florida Panthers continue to assist in the recovery after the mass shooting in Parkland with their donation of $35,100 to multiple Marjory Stoneman Douglas nonprofits on hand during the New York Islanders and Florida Panthers game earlier this month.
Under the leadership of Florida Panthers Ownership Vincent J. Viola and Douglass A. Cifu, the Community Champions program has been donating funds since the beginning of the 2016-2017 season to local charities that have made an impact in South Florida – giving over $5 million over the last five years.
The $31,100 raised went to foundations set up by families of the victims of the school shooting in Parkland through a 50/50 Raffle held at the BB&T Center as well as a Text2Give fan donation drive.
Funds were split evenly with: Orange Ribbons for Jaime, Safe Schools for Alex, Swim4Nick, Carmen’s Dream, Chris Hixon Athletic Scholarship, Make Our Schools Safe, Scott J Beigel Memorial Fund, Gina Rose Montalto Memorial Foundation, Inc., The Luke Hoyer Athletic Fund, The WalkUp Foundation, Change the Ref, Americans for Class, and Stand with Parkland.
Back in February, the Panthers, with the help out Hands on Broward, helped improve the Leo Goodwin Foundation Teen Center in honor of the memory of former Parkland cross county coach and teacher Scott Beigel.
With help from members of Beigel’s family and the MSD Track Team, they restored the outdoor rink at the Boys and Girls Club North Lauderdale facility. They also planted a new butterfly garden and repaired what was a known as a “forgotten vegetable garden” to help children studying culinary programs.
A year after the massacre, goaltender Roberto Luongo, a Parkland resident for 12 years, wore a special mask to honor Marjory Stoneman Douglas for a game versus the Calgary Flames.
He also delivered a heart-warming message in the first game back for the Panthers back in 2018 after they returned from a west coast trip following the shooting – where each team wore Marjory Stoneman Douglas hats during warm-ups.