MIAMI - Roberto Luongo is the first hockey player to spend most of his career with the Florida Panthers to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
There have been others who have played for the Panthers but those were stops along the way in their great careers. Luongo played 11 of his 19 seasons with the Panthers and has made South Florida his home.
Following what was the worst trade in team history, sending an in his prime Luongo to Vancouver in a package deal that did not pan out, the Panthers righted the wrong by bringing him back towards the end of his career. The team was gaining respectability at the time and Luongo helped them reach the 2016 playoffs.
The Jersey Night
Literally days before the world shut down due to COVID, Luongo became the first Panther player to have his number retired. I vividly recall hosting the event on the ice at the arena and watching the Number One jersey go up to the rafters as Luongo watched, looking skyward, with his wife and kids. Truly a historic moment for him and for the franchise.
Since the physical nature of the goalie position in professional hockey took its toll and he had to retire, Luongo has been with the Panthers' front office. His ultimate goal is to be an NHL general manager. But he is in no hurry to do so.
He is a true South Floridian and is taking his time learning his craft while raising his kids in Broward County. When the time does come, wherever and whenever that may be, Luongo will likely be very seasoned and have the mindset to be a successful general manager.
Tune in Sunday night to CBS4 Sports Desk, after the 11 p.m. news, to watch an exclusive conversation with Roberto Luongo.
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