The Florida Panthers honored the victims of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport shooting on Friday by holding a moment of silence before their game with the Nashville Predators. Several players, like defenseman Michael Matheson, also paid tribute by writing “FLL” on their skates.
On Friday afternoon, a gunman opened fire at the airport, killing five people and injuring at least eight others. The 26-year-old suspect was later taken into custody by authorities.
There was a discussion about postponing the game, but a conversation between Panthers president Peter Luukko, the NHL and Broward County authorities ended with the decision to play on. According to Harvey Fialkov of the Sun-Sentinel, security around BB&T Center was increased for the game, with unmarked police cars and plain-clothes office in and around the rink.
Deeply disturbed by what's going on in our backyard right now at FLL airport. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved. Stay safe
— VT3 (@trocheck_89) January 6, 2017
Can't believe the news of what is going on at FLL. My thoughts and prayers to all those who have been affected. Stay strong South Florida
— Mike Matheson (@mmatheson19) January 6, 2017
“We’re a gathering place for the community,” said Luukko via the Panthers website. “In these situations it’s good for people to come together, which they’re doing tonight, and then go on with the game. We did feel it was important to move on, but obviously respect those who were killed in this awful incident and then pray for the safety and recovery of those that were wounded.”
The Boston Bruins, who play the Panthers on Saturday night, had their flight to south Florida diverted from Fort Lauderdale to Miami Friday afternoon.
“The thoughts and prayers of the Bruins organization are with the victims of today’s shooting and the entire Fort Lauderdale community,” the team said in a statement.
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