Aaron Ekblad, Brooks Koepka address viral traffic cone incident: 'We're not buddies'

The Panthers defenseman doesn't ever plan on being friends with the LIV golfer and two-time U.S. Open champ.

The 2022-23 season has been nothing if not trying for the Florida Panthers and their fans.

From Presidents' Trophy runaways last year to middling playoff bubble team this season, things have gone awry in Sunrise.

The last thing the Cats needed as they barrelled toward the end of their bumpy season was a distraction. Unfortunately for them, however, that's not exactly how the last week has unfolded.

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LIV Golf star and two-time U.S. Open champ Brooks Koepka took in the Panthers game last Saturday against the New York Rangers and was caught on camera ripping into Florida blueliner Aaron Ekblad.

“He gave up a bad goal. It was a bad pass in the third,” Koepka later told golf writer Matt Vincenzi. “I'm a die-hard [Panthers] fan, and he gave up a bad goal."

To be fair, the goal in question wasn’t exactly Ekblad’s finest hour, as Filip Chytil danced around the normally sure-handed defenseman for his 21st marker of the season.

Koepka, who by all accounts knows his stuff and is a regular at Panthers games, further clarified that the traffic cone wasn’t his, though that didn’t make him any less unabashed in his reaction to the 4-2 tally — even if the fact he was “well hydrated” may have exacerbated things.


“He gave up a bad goal I think midway through the third, and I just felt like if they didn't win that game they weren't going to make the playoffs,” Koekpa added. "Dedicated fan, man."

Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad is not a fan of LIV golfer Brooks Koepka. (Ekblad photo via Getty)
Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad is not a fan of LIV golfer Brooks Koepka. (Ekblad photo via Getty)

Koepka’s assessment wasn’t exactly wrong, either. According to Dom Luczyszyn of The Athletic, the Panthers' playoff odds have dropped dramatically in the past week and change, now sitting below 30 percent for the first time all season.

As for Ekblad and his reaction to the LIV star, there wasn’t much ambiguity on how he felt about it.

“We’re not buddies,” Ekblad told reporters on Wednesday. “Never (will) be buddies.”