His email and smart phone are bound to be jammed with thank you's and tributes long into the hot Florida summer now that he has made the decision to close out his broadcasting career.
Hockey Hall of Famer Denis Charles Potvin's contributions to the South Florida hockey community will never be overlooked. It was in the summer of 1993, when original Florida Panthers owner H. Wayne Huizenga and inaugural team president Bill Torrey convinced the perennial the All-Star defenseman and four-time Stanley Cup winning captain of the New York Islanders 80's dynasty to move his family to South Florida and away from a prosperous Wall Street career.
The addition of Denis instantaneously injected credibility to the newest NHL franchise. He quickly became the trusted eyes and pulse of the growing Panthers fanbase for both rabid and casual hockey fans alike. Utilizing his wealth of experience, keen sense of hockey knowledge, prediction of plays and relationships with both players and coaches, Denis cemented the trust of South Florida and became an admired voice both on radio and TV broadcasts.
On a personal note, I'd like to discuss my own glowing appreciation of Denis and his role in my broadcasting career.
Let me take you back to the 1996-97 season. I was a newly retired NHL journeyman defenseman about to plunge into a radio analyst role with the Panthers. Denis offered some much needed tutelage and guidance both off and on the airwaves. I can't thank him enough for that. Over 20 years together riding buses, sharing suspect media room meals, preparing for our next broadcast or even soaking our sorrows with a beverage (or two) after a tough Panthers loss, we always found laughter and a mutual respect of the game, team, and fans along the way.
Although we will all miss his candid and precise description of Panthers hockey broadcasts, it's comforting to know his presence at Panthers home games and in the community in his new role as an ambassador of the organization will keep his legacy alive. When Lord Stanley's Cup is eventually presented to a Panthers captain, we know another legendary captain will gladly be there to share in the hoist and celebration.
Chasing elusive marlin and swordfish off of the Treasure Coast and spoiling his beautiful, beloved grandchildren will now replace sloshing through another year of Canadian blizzards and the rigors of a hectic travel schedule. The end of an era has truly arrived.
Healthy and happy retirement Denis,
From the Panthers family, the fans, and yours truly, thank you for a remarkable run!