Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Florida Panthers

Panthers News

RECAP: Panthers Turn Page on 2019 Summer Reading Tour

by Veronica Behonick / @herees_ronnie / FloridaPanthers.com

The Florida Panthers officially closed the book on their second-annual Summer Reading Tour this week.

In conjunction with the Broward County Library Division, the Panthers stopped by 10 different libraries throughout South Florida over the last two months, using the game of hockey to promote reading and inspire young children to not only think about picking up a stick, but also picking up far more books.

With the Panther Patrol in tow, the team brought games, prizes and even a special guest reader to each stop, with the reader, typically a player or broadcaster, also taking questions and signing autographs.

What were some of the highlights from this year's tour? Let's take a look back and see!

The Panthers kicked off their 2019 summer reading tour at Main Library in Fort Lauderdale back on June 13. Special guest Randy Moller, a former Panthers defenseman and the team's current television color analyst for FOX Sports Florida, stopped in to read "Z for Zamboni" and visited with the kids in the area.

"For the kids to be able to hear a wonderful voice like [Randy's] and see a player, it helps the them get interested in reading," said Broward County Main Library Youth Supervisor Autumn Dec.

Tweet from @FlaPanthersPR: ���This is our first stop on the reading tour with our partners @BrowardLibrary.��� - @HeyRedDeer on reading ���Z for Zamboni��� at the library today. pic.twitter.com/jLG88H2bC2

The second stop on the tour took the Cats to the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale on June 18. Panthers Forward Jayce Hawryluk delighted kids as that afternoon's guest reader, while the always entertaining Stanley C. Panther kept the auditorium rocking until his arrival.

"It's awesome," said Hawryluk, who made his NHL debut with the Panthers last season. "Education is just as important as hockey, and it's important that kids realize that."

Tweet from @FlaPanthers: The #FlaPanthers Summer Reading Tour with @BrowardLibrary is underway! Check out upcoming stops �� https://t.co/P5KP30Oh8u pic.twitter.com/5SzTQ1G97j

The following week, the summer reading tour made a stop at West Regional Library in Plantation. The Panther Patrol played games with the local kids and Stanley made another appearance, too! Moller once again won over the crowd as a guest reader, enchanting kids (and adults) with his legendary storytelling.

Tweet from @BrowardLibrary: Tomorrow, June 29, the @FlaPanthers Summer Reading Tour comes to West Regional Library, 8601 W Broward Boulevard, Plantation, FL 33324, 954-765-1560, and runs from 12PM-3PM. Play games with the Panther Patrol and Stanley C. Panther. Meet former player/broadcaster Randy Moller. pic.twitter.com/c90Jo1ouk1

Then, on July 11, the summer reading tour welcomed guest reader and Panthers personality Bill Lindsay to Broward County's Sunrise Dan Pearl Library. Lindsay, a forward on Florida's inaugural 1993-94 team and the club's current radio color analyst, read a story about fierce hockey-playing dinosaurs before taking some time to snap pictures, sign autographs and hype up the crowd for the upcoming season.

Tweet from @FlaPanthers: We had special guest reader @LindsayBHockey stop by our @BrowardLibrary Summer Reading Tour at the Sunrise Dan Pearl branch! 📚 pic.twitter.com/bj4ApgyTKB

With the summer in full swing, the Panthers Patrol then took the tour to its next stop at South Regional Library in Pembroke Pines on July 12. Panthers TV play-by-play professional Steve "Goldie" Goldstein read to gathered masses and answered questions about the team's offseason activities and what to look forward to this year. The Panther Patrol also brought inflatables, cornhole and plenty of other goodies.

Tweet from @FlaPanthers: Thanks @goldieonice for stopping by our @BrowardLibrary Summer Reading Tour this afternoon! 📚👏 pic.twitter.com/7UJMrJFyeZ

Moving past the halfway point of the tour, the Panthers' sixth stop took them to the Southwest Regional Library on July 17. Panthers radio broadcaster Doug Plagens was the day's guest reader, telling the story of "Sam the Zamboni Man" to the kids and their families before taking questions from excited children.

Tweet from @DougPlagens: Thanks @BrowardLibrary for having us today & thanks to everyone for coming out! The Summer Reading Tour is always one of my favorite events! It was great to meet everyone today! #FlaPanthers https://t.co/WDQNX5U9me

Next, the summer reading tour then headed to Northwest Regional Library in Coral Springs on July 26. Panthers Senior Vice President Shawn Thornton, a two-time Stanley Cup champion, stepped up to read that day, leading kids in a raucous sing-along of Stompin' Tom Connors' legendary "The Hockey Song."

Tweet from @FlaPanthersCARE: Thanks to #FlaPanthers Senior Vice President Shawn Thornton for being a guest reader at @BrowardLibrary Summer Reading Tour! 👋📖 pic.twitter.com/8aL7bDe4wD

As the summer went on, the reading tour started to gain momentum. A highlight from the year was Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad going to Lauderdale Lakes Library on July 29 to read "Casey and Derek on the Ice." Having already come out to read a story during the inaugural tour last year, Ekblad said he firmly believes in the importance of the program and in reading throughout the entire summer.

Tweet from @FlaPanthers: Reading rocks! 👊📚So does @Ekblad5FLA as our @BrowardLibrary Summer Reading Tour guest reader. 😺 pic.twitter.com/G0wkjQHcp4

"It's always nice to come out and do something like this," Ekblad said. "I remember as a kid being excited for things like this, no matter who it was that came out. Whether it was a hockey player or a doctor coming to read to you, it was always fun. It's always cool to learn, especially when you're a young kid."

Video: 2019 Florida Panthers Reading Tour: Aaron Ekblad

With the summer reading tour nearing its end, Panthers radio personality Doug Plagens came back for a second day out at North Regional/Broward College Library on Aug. 3. Plagens - always a hit among fans - read a delightful story about a Zamboni and his friends. He then fielded questions and comments from the kids, who were ready to talk hockey and Panthers strategy for the upcoming 2019-20 campaign.

Tweet from @DougPlagens: Huge thanks to @BrowardLibrary for having us today in Coconut Creek! Still one more @FlaPanthers Summer Reading Tour left: Wednesday 2-5pm in Davie! #flapanthers pic.twitter.com/UJEhdniNvF

Finally, the Panthers closed out the second summer reading tour on August 7 at Young At Art Library in Davie. Panthers alumnus Serge Payer was the guest reader and loved spending time in the community. He answered questions, posed for pictures and had plenty of fun with Stanley and the Panther Patrol!

Tweet from @FlaPanthers: #FlaPanthers alum Serge Payer is our guest reader at today���s @BrowardLibrary reading tour stop. 📚 pic.twitter.com/zCBgQBfVRw

View More