There have only been 10 Florida-born players in NHL history. Shayne Gostisbehere is among them and the only one on the list to make it to the NHL after developing in South Florida’s youth hockey system.
The Philadelphia Flyers defenceman grew up in Pembroke Pines, roughly 20 minutes from the Florida Panthers’ home arena in Sunrise. His French-Canadian grandfather would often take him to Panthers games, and were it not for those experiences, he might never have pursued hockey as a career.
“I don’t remember a whole lot … I was probably only eight years old, but I have a vivid memory of one player: Number 10, Pavel Bure,” Gostisbehere wrote in The Players’ Tribune. “He was awesome. The speed, the skill and the swagger. I remember, I would always know when he was on the ice because I could hear his stick tapping for the puck — I could relate to that. He used to drift out into the slot, tap the stick, and bang.
“There are guys who are good. There are guys who are great. Then there are guys who make you want to leave the rink and go put your skates on and be like them. Bure was one of those guys. And hockey in Florida was never the same after he played down there.”
Gostisbehere also goes on to talk about how his older sister has influenced and advised him over the years, being a young player in the NHL, and the leadership in the current Flyers’ locker room.