In the wake of the new coronavirus pandemic, Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is hoping to make a positive difference in the South Florida community.
Bobrovsky, who is in his first season with the Panthers, recently donated $100,000 to help BB&T Center workers with no events being held at the arena and followed by donating thousands of masks to multiple hospitals in the Fort Lauderdale area.
“The workers in the arena they do a big part of our events and (are) a big part in our support,” Bobrovsky said on a conference call Tuesday. “There will be a risk for them to lose their jobs and not have the possibility to feed their family. … I guess I tried to do the right thing for those people and to support them and help a little bit from my side.”
His teammates later matched his $100,000 donation and Panthers ownership is also supporting the workers with an undisclosed amount to cover the rest of the needed money.
Along with New York Rangers left winger Artemi Panarin, Bobrovsky didn’t stop there as they came together to help health care workers by donating thousands of masks to multiple hospitals in Florida and New York.
The 31-year-old from Novokuznetsk, Russia purchased the N95 masks and arranged for them to be delivered in Fort Lauderdale to different medical facilities. Panarin donated 1,500 masks to the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and later joined New York Islanders players in donating 3,000 masks to Northwell Health system in Long Island.
“We wanted to make sure the first responders have the right masks,” Bobrovsky said. “Those masks are N95s and they’re high-quality masks. So it’s good to support those people with high-quality masks.”
With sporting leagues all across the world on pause, Bobrovsky is trying to do as much as he can in the community while also staying in shape to help the Panthers make a potential run at the postseason if the NHL season is resumed.
Bobrovsky, who was close to returning to the ice before the NHL season was suspended, said that he’s feeling healthier and would’ve been ready to help the Panthers make their postseason push. The veteran goalie missed the team’s last four games due to a lower-body injury.
The Panthers are three games behind the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs with Carolina and Columbus holding the wild-card slots and Toronto close to securing the No. 3 seed in the Atlantic Division.
“I have the possibility here in my house,” Bobrovsky said on still being able to work out and stay in shape. “I had the time to organize the gym during the season. So, I would say that I have a good gym. I have all the equipment needed to be in shape.
“It’s not easy times because we don’t know when it’s going to happen, when we’re going to play and stuff like that,” Bobrovsky continued. “But, it’s just one day at a time.”
Despite having access to a house gym, the 2012-13 and 2016-17 Vezina Trophy Award winner said it’s slightly more difficult for a goalie to stay game-ready compared to players at other positions.
“For the goalie, it’s a little bit harder to train,” Bobrovsky said. “You need someone to shot at you. You need to see the puck, to read the players and stuff like that. But, at this moment, I don’t have that possibility. So, I can only build my body to be strong, to be fast and to be quick.”
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said on Tuesday that the NHL is exploring multiple options for resuming the season, and will be ready to continue play when the all-clear is given by authorities and health professionals.
©2020 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)