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CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- Ryan Lomberg was reunited, sort of, with the Prince of Wales Trophy, which the Florida Panthers won as 2023 Eastern Conference champions.

The Panthers forward was sitting in one end of a gym at the Florida Panthers IceDen practice facility Saturday afternoon signing autographs at the Amerigol LATAM Cup.

The Prince of Wales Trophy, as well as the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl, which was awarded to the Western Conference champion Vegas Golden Knights, were on display at the other end of the room for tournament attendees to pose for photos with.

"It's a beautiful trophy," Lomberg said. "Unfortunately, I would have rather had another one. But we were very, very fortunate to be able to get our hands on that one."

The other one is, obviously, the Stanley Cup, which Vegas won by defeating Florida in five games in the Cup Final. The Panthers earned the Prince of Wales Trophy by sweeping the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final.

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Florida general manager Bill Zito echoed Lomberg's sentiments about the trophy's sleek, shiny look. Zito performed a ceremonial puck drop Friday night before Argentina and Venezuela played to a 3-3 tie in a men's Division II game.

"These trophies, in particular, are beautiful," Zito said on Friday. "When we saw it, we were almost embarrassed to be like, 'This is really cool.'"

But it's not the Stanley Cup.

"It's funny, a buddy of mine asked, 'Did you ever get the conference trophy?'" Zito said. "I said, 'Do you know the name of the trophy for winning the National Football Conference?' There's a reason. You want to win the Stanley Cup. Anything less is a failure."

Zito said the Panthers will be "in rigorous pursuit" of the Cup when their 2023-24 NHL season begins against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Oct. 12.

"It's a long road, lots of work," he said. "We've certainly put the work in, and we'll be rigorous this season."

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Lomberg said he's been long since ready to chase the Cup again.

"The only way it's going to happen is the hard way," said Lomberg, who had 20 points (12 goals, eight assists) in 82 regular season games last season. "It's not going to be easy. If anything, it's going to be harder. Our coaching staff does a great job to prepare ourselves for the hard things, and we'll just learn from our experiences and be even harder and more excited for next year."

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Lomberg and Zito said they were excited about visiting the LATAM Cup, a tournament being held from Aug. 23-27 that features teams representing Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon and Venezuela, along with teams composed of players of Caribbean and Central American heritage.

More than 750 players representing 21 countries and territories are competing in six divisions, including men's Division I and II, a women's bracket, and U-12, U-14 and U-16 groups.

The Panthers and the NHL are among the sponsors of the tournament.

"When you can have something like this down in South Florida, it's beautiful," Lomberg said. "We're happy to be part of it as an organization. Just walking through the arenas and hearing the excitement and the fans yelling and making noise, it caught me off guard how loud it was."

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Zito said the tournament is hockey in its purest form.

"You have this grassroots love of hockey, but it's competitive and super fun," Zito said. "And the jerseys, they're beautiful, they're awesome."

Photos courtesy: Aubrey Corkum