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Andrew Peeke Returns to Sunrise – This Time with Boston Bruins

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Peeke bruins
Parkland’s Andrew Peeke, now with the Boston Bruins, is back in Sunrise to face the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

SUNRISEAndrew Peeke has been back to play his hometown Florida Panthers a number of times, but never with the stakes as high as they are tonight with the Boston Bruins.

Peeke, who grew up in Parkland, was able to enjoy many of his visits to the arena he once roamed in his younger years without a whole lot of stress.

After being traded from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Boston Bruins at the deadline, Peeke was thrown into a playoff race.

Tonight’s outcome has more meaning to it than any of the games he played here with the Blue Jackets as the winner will take over first place in the Atlantic Division.

“This is exciting, a scenario I have not experienced in my pro career,” said Peeke, who has played in five games with the Bruins since being acquired from Columbus for defenseman Jakub Zboril and a third-round pick.

“Playing at this time of the year, when you are fighting for points — and, with the Panthers and Bruins, first place in the division. That’s really important. We’re coming off two losses and want to play the right way and build from there. … They have a winning culture here and fight for a playoff spot every year. You can’t ask for more than that. Once I found out it was Boston, it was one of those reactions you can’t duplicate. It was really exciting.”

Peeke will have numerous friends and family in the building tonight, some sitting in the same seats he once enjoyed games from as a season-ticket holder.

Peeke grew up idolizing players such as Ed Jovanovski and Stephen Weiss, and said it was hard not to root for the Panthers as they made their march to the Stanley Cup Final last year.

It should be noted that Peeke was not a member of the Bruins at the time.

“I have been going to games here since I was 6 months old,” said Peeke, who left South Florida before he would have attended Stoneman Douglas High to help further his hockey career at a prep school in Connecticut.

“Being from a place like Florida or Arizona, a non-traditional hockey market, having something like that was pretty special. Obviously all of my friends and family grew up as Panthers fans so to be able to experience that, know that will help the game in Florida was tremendous. To see how hockey was scarce down here and now it’s growing … having a run like that really tops things off.”

Peeke’s ties to South Florida are pretty long.

He started playing hockey in Coral Springs on a team with fellow NHLer Jakob Chychrun — on a team coached by Jeff, who now works on the Florida television broadcasts.

He played on a number of junior teams in the area including the Jr. Panthers, and ended up being captain at Notre Dame.

After three seasons of playing with the Irish, he turned pro and joined the Blue Jackets who made him a second-round pick in 2016.

Peeke made his NHL debut in Columbus on Dec. 5, 2019; he played in his second game two days later in Sunrise.

Instead of taking his rookie solo warm up lap in his first NHL game, he did it in his second on his “home” rink in Sunrise.

Now, this is more of a business visit what with the Bruins standing.

Still, it’s always cool to come home.

“The game has grown here much more obviously with the Panthers being who they are,” Peeke said. “There are more rinks being built here and that is awesome to see.”

ON DECK

BOSTON BRUINS @ FLORIDA PANTHERS

  • When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida/ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932; NHL App
  • Last Season — Regular Season: Tied 2-2; Playoffs: Florida won 4-3 (first-round)
  • This season (Bruins Lead 2-0) — At Boston: Bruins 3, Panthers 2 OT (Oct.30); April 6. At Florida: Bruins 3, Panthers 1 (Nov. 22); Tuesday.
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Boston leads 62-37-7, 6 ties
  • All-time Postseason Series: Florida leads 2-0 (1996, 2023)
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Thursday vs. NY Islanders, 7 p.m.

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