Panthers surprise Stoneman Douglas hockey team with Stanley Cup, flight to nationals

The Florida Panthers arranged for Stoneman Douglas hockey players to spend time with the Stanley Cup. (Getty)
The Florida Panthers arranged for Stoneman Douglas hockey players to spend time with the Stanley Cup. (Getty)

Last week, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas hockey team won the Florida state championship.

The win came less than two weeks after the tragic mass shooting that saw 17 killed by a lone gunman on the school’s campus and before students returned to school.

On Monday, the hockey team got a treat by practicing at the BB&T Center, home of the NHL’s Florida Panthers.

The team is done with its season, but earned a trip to a national tournament in Minnesota later this month and is preparing to play there.

In addition to lending out their home ice for Stoneman Douglas to practice, the Panthers had a couple of surprises in store for the high school hockey team.

The Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that the Panthers and airline Swift Air partnered to fly the team on the Panthers’ private jet to play in the USA Hockey High School National Championships from March 22-26.

It’s another nice gesture from the Panthers, but nothing in terms of excitement to what came next for the Stoneman Douglas hockey team.

Yeah, that’s the Stanley Cup. It’s not the Cup presented to the Pittsburgh Penguins last summer, but one of three versions of the Cup that is normally housed by the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s a surprise the Stoneman Douglas players did not see coming.

“It’s been ups and downs like crazy,” captain Matt Hauptman told the Sun-Sentinel. “Starting out, the day just being the worst day of my life to having some of the best days of my life, winning a state championship, being treated like a professional player, it’s been incredible. Holding the Stanley Cup is bringing my roller coaster to a peak.”

While the tragedy of Feb. 14 remains fresh, the Stoneman Douglas hockey team is providing a welcome story and respite for a community in mourning.

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