Much of the United States had its eyes glued on Wednesday's horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida. In times of crisis people look to sports to find comfort in a difficult time.
Miles away in Canada, The Florida Panthers prepared to play the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday evening, but while the players prepared for the game they watched in horror as a tragedy played out at home.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland is approximately 10 minutes away from the Panthers practice rink and just a short drive away from Sunrise, FL, where the Panthers call home.
When the Panthers arrived at the Rogers Centre in Vancouver, the team took to social media to share thoughts with fans back home.
“Obviously, it really hits home with us,” Panthers center Nick Bjugstad said on Fox Sports Florida after getting a Panthers’ 4-3 win. “A lot of guys live a couple of minutes from that high school. A lot of them have kids in that system.”
Parkland became a home away from home for the Panthers ever since the team relocated its practice rink to the city in 1998.
Before last night's game, the Canucks and Panthers paused for a moment of silence to honor the victims and offer thoughts to those affected.
During times of crisis people turn to sports to forget about the problems at hand. Similar to what we saw in Las Vegas, the Panthers dedicated their performance to those effected by this shooting.
“We mentioned we’re going to play for the people in Sunrise and Parkland tonight,” said Nick Bjugstad. “If we can make a few people happy...it’s so tough that stuff like this happens in schools, which should be the safest places in the world.”