SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida Panthers general manger Dale Tallon wanted to make the evening extra special for the boisterous hometown fans when he stepped to the podium at BB&T Center on Friday and asked senior adviser Bill Torrey to announce the No. 11 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Torrey, elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995, was president of the Panthers when they lost to the Colorado Avalanche in their only appearance in the Stanley Cup Final in 1996.
The cheering got louder as Torrey stepped to the microphone to announce left wing Lawson Crouse of the Kingston Frontenacs in the Ontario Hockey League as the Panthers' top pick.
The first round of the draft in South Florida was a fitting way to celebrate a new beginning in the lives of 30 top prospects who fulfilled a lifelong dream of being selected by an NHL team before a capacity crowd.