Before the Florida Panthers played the Washington Capitals on Thursday night, Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo delivered a heartfelt speech about the tragic school shooting that took place in Parkland last week. The hockey player’s family has lived in Parkland for the last 12 years, and both of his children go to school in the area.
Luongo opened by first and foremost making his love for the city clear. “When I’m done playing hockey, I want to spend the rest of my life in Parkland,” he told the packed BB&T Center in Sunrise. “I love that city.” The 18-year NHL veteran also lamented not being able to return home to protect his family in the wake of the tragedy.
Roberto Luongo, a Parkland resident, with a really powerful speech before the Panthers/ Capitals game pic.twitter.com/eDoqFUixZQ
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) February 23, 2018
“No child should ever have to go through that. It’s terrible,” said Luongo, fighting back tears. “It’s time for us, as a community, to take action. It’s enough. Enough is enough” As he began choking up, Luongo let the families of the victims know that “our hearts are broken for you guys. We’ve been thinking about you every day, constantly for the last week.”
Luongo also had high praise for the teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where the shooting took place. “Some of them didn’t make it, trying to protect children,” he said. “That is truly what a hero is, and those people need to be put on a pedestal for the rest of their lives.”
Since the shooting, several survivors, many of them students, have unapologetically spoken truth to power and torn down politicians who have gone out of their way to not stand up for the victims of the tragedy, and their acts weren’t lost on Luongo.
“I’ve been watching the news, and I’ve been seeing what the kids from Douglas Stoneman have been doing and I am very very proud of you guys,” he said in closing. “You guys are brave, you’re an inspiration to all of us, and at the end of the day you guys are what’s giving us hope for the future.”