The deafening roar of Florida Panthers fans rocked BB&T Center as Hockey Hall of Famer Bill Torrey approached the podium to announce Florida’s first round selection of the 2015 National Hockey League Draft.
LW Lawson Crouse from the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) became the newest Panther as Mr. Torrey announced him as the 11th overall selection of the Draft.
“It was a special thing,” said Crouse of his thunderous welcome to South Florida. “When I was up on stage and they were cheering…it’s something I can’t even explain. I couldn’t be happier to be a Florida Panther.”
The 6-foot-4, 215 –pound winger brings to South Florida a game with an edge. Nicknamed “the Sheriff” for his willingness to protect and help out his teammates, Crouse brings elements of physicality and two-way hockey to the Panthers.
“I’m a big player. I like to play tough and I like to play strong,” said Crouse. “I excel in the defensive zone and chip in on offense when I can. I pride myself in doing the little things well. I think that’s what makes me stand out as a hockey player.”
“I love to hit. I’m a very physical player. I don’t mind a fight either.”
Willing to throw his weight around, Crouse uses his big frame to get to the net to score goals. Scoring a team-leading 29 goals and 51 points with Kingston, Crouse's draft stock rose throughout the year as he continued to prove there was more to his game than just the rough stuff.
From hitting a home run at Marlins Park to being drafted by the Panthers in front of the hometown fans, the 18-year old's first trip to South Florida is certainly one he'll never forget.
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