Roberto Luongo to become 1st Panthers player to have jersey retired

The Florida Panthers announced they will be retiring Roberto Luongo’s numbers this upcoming season.

Roberto Luongo will be the first player in Florida Panthers history to have his number retired during a ceremony next March.

The Panthers announced Monday that they will honour Luongo on March 7, 2020 against the Montreal Canadiens.

Luongo, 40, retired in June after 19 NHL seasons spent with the Panthers, Vancouver Canucks and New York Islanders.

“Hopefully, there will be a lot of people in the building to enjoy that special moment with me,” Luongo told reporters.

Florida owner Vincent J. Viola said Luongo is a hockey icon and cornerstone of the Panthers franchise.

“He has represented himself and the Panthers with tremendous dignity, determination and a standard of excellence throughout his career,” Viola said in a statement.

“Roberto exemplifies what it means to be a Florida Panther. His level of commitment to this franchise, his teammates, his family and the South Florida community is second to none. There is no player more deserving to be the first Florida Panther to have his jersey number retired.”

Luongo, a Montreal native, ranks second in NHL history in games played by a goaltender (1,044), third in wins (489) and ninth in shutouts (77).

He said it’s an incredible recognition by the organization.

“It’s quite an honour to be the first player to have his number retired by the Panthers,” Luongo said.

“I’m truly looking forward to sharing this special night with my friends, family, teammates and the Panthers fans.”

The Panthers first acquired Luongo during a 2000 trade with the New York Islanders. He would go on to be a Vezina Trophy finalist during the 2003-04 season and appeared in the 2004 all-star game.

Florida dealt him to the Canucks in 2006 where he would continue his stellar career and lead Vancouver to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final before eventually falling to the Boston Bruins.

He was re-acquired by the Panthers in 2014 and would appear at both the 2015 and ’16 all-star game for the club.

In total, Luongo played 11 seasons in Florida and holds several of the team’s goaltending records.

He also is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, representing Canada at the Vancouver (2010) and Sochi (2014) Winter Games.

— with files from The Associated Press.

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