More than 200 people stood in line Saturday morning to meet Panther forward Richard Zednik at the BankAtlantic Center.
The line of fans and friends queued up through PantherLand and outside the team gift store to have Zednik sign autographs on jerseys, hats, sticks and pucks.
“Unbelievable,” said Zednik, looking at the line to greet him while his teammates went through their morning skate to prepare for tonight’s final home game.
“Everyone has been great,” added Zednik, who suffered a laceration to his neck Feb. 10 in Buffalo. “People from all over have written to me. From here, from other cities, from Slovakia.”
Three people in the line to greet Zednik were season ticket holders Nancy, Angel and Anthony Contreras, who wore shirts with Zednik’s No. 20 that read, ‘Come Back Soon.’
“We had the shirts made within 24 hours of his injury and we wore them the first game after he got injured and for the next five or six after that,” Nancy said. “Even fans with jerseys from other teams we saw, Pittsburgh or New Jersey, were like, ‘It’s not even about who won. It’s great what you did.’ It was an injury that could have killed him. That’s the reason we felt we had to honor him. It wasn’t a broken leg.”
Zednik said he feels good and has been taking it easy. He rode a stationary bike one day, and “it was easy and it felt good,” he said. His plan is to stay in South Florida before returning to Slovakia later in the month.
“I’ll do some exercises, but I won’t start skating until the first week of August like always,” he said.