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Roberto Luongo says ‘it’s time to take action’ in heartfelt speech about Parkland shooting

The Panthers goalie and Parkland resident spoke out Thursday night.

Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo took the ice before the team’s game Thursday to honor the 17 victims of the Parkland, Fla., shooting and urge his community to “take action” in a powerful speech.

Luongo lives in Parkland, and his son’s school was in lockdown for hours after the shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.

Trying to fight back tears after telling the fans he wanted to spend the rest of his life in the area, Luongo pleaded with them to fight for change. “It’s time for us as a community to take action,” he said. “It’s enough. Enough is enough. We’ve got to take action.”

The high school where the shooting took place was less than a mile from where Luongo’s son was hiding in a closet. It’s also less than 15 miles away from BB&T Center in Sunrise, where the Panthers play their home games.

This was the Panthers’ first home game since the shooting, so they held a pregame ceremony, organized a blood drive, and designed special patches that are raising money for the victims’ families. But Luongo also wanted to give a speech, telling his coach Bob Boughner, “This is something I’ve got to do.”

Luongo said afterwards that none of the speech was scripted because he wanted to speak from the heart. “I didn’t want to have anything scripted,” the goalie said. “I just wanted to let it come out the way it was meant to be.”

Luongo also thanked the teachers who risked or gave their lives to protect children and praised the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who have rallied together to start the Never Again movement.

“I’m very, very proud of you guys,” Luongo said. “You guys are brave. You guys are an inspiration to all of us, and at the end of the day, you guys are what’s giving us hope for the future.”