Competition was fierce as the Florida Panthers hosted a Mini 1-on-1 Tournament for the second year in a row at BB&T Center on Sunday December 30, 2018.
Mini 1-on-1 is an NHL-sponsored shootout for kids 10 and under that is held during the NHL All-Star Weekend, and each year clubs from around the league host their own tournament to decide who will represent them at the final competition.
The Panthers previously hosted qualifying rounds for Squirt travel teams at five local ice rinks in South Florida. The top goaltender and shooter tandem from each rink earned an invitation to compete in the finals in Sunrise.
Each duo had an opportunity to go head-to-head against one another and show off their best shootout moves & shootout saves, with the top pair securing a trip to the 2019 NHL All-Star Game in San Jose, California.
The tournament-winning goal was scored by shooter J.T. Bonilla, whose favorite player is Florida Panthers Captain Aleksander Barkov.
"It's incredible. Just playing in this big arena, knowing that some of his favorite players in the NHL play on this very ice, words can't even describe what this means for him," said James Bonilla, J.T.'s father.
Bonilla and goaltending partner Eli Zucker, along with their families, will head to San Jose where the two will compete against duos from other NHL markets in another Mini 1-on-1 Tournament as part of the 2019 NHL All-Star Weekend.
"I was pretty calm, all things considered, said David Zucker, Eli's father. "As a goalie dad, I'm used to a lot of anxiety and anxious moments. I have total confidence in my kid and I was super happy for him."
"The best part of this by far is that these two kids have been playing together for four years, so to be able to win this thing together is just awesome."
This is the second year in a row that the Mini 1-on-1 winners for the Panthers have come from the Florida Panthers IceDen.
Needless to say, JT and Eli are very excited.
Thanks to all the participants in this year's tournament!
Palm Beach Ice Works
Shooter: Sam Tanguay
Goalie: Matthew Schreier
Palm Beach Skate Zone
Shooter: Colby Langford
Goalie: Daniel Zipris
Florida Panthers IceDen
Shooter: J.T. Bonilla
Goalie: Eli Zucker
Pines Ice Arena
Shooter: Dawson Leppo
Goalie: Jason Perkins
Kendall Ice Arena
Shooter: Joseph McBride
Goalie: Zakeal Eldridge