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Patric Hornqvist: Builder of Florida Panthers Culture



Patric Hornqvist, center, drops the ceremonial first puck before the Florida Panthers faced the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night in Sunrise. Florida’s Sasha Barkov and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby look on as Hornqvist is joined by wife Malin and their daughters Isabella and Vendela. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

SUNRISE — The impact of Patric Hornqvist on the Florida Panthers was apparent from the moment he walked through the door of their Sunrise arena.

In his first practice with the Panthers in 2021, Hornqvist paused as everyone was getting off the ice and made it very clear he thought they left something on the ice.

“Get back out there!” Hornqvist yelled, as general manager Bill Zito recalled. “We need to work on the power play!”

That was not Hornqvist trying to show up his new teammates in order to earn their respect.

It was just one of many natural moments which made Hornqvist who he was.

The final pick of a deep 2003 NHL Draft, Hornqvist went on to score so many big goals for the Nashville Predators — then got the Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Nashville in 2017.

But Florida may have felt his impact the most after he spent the final three years of his career there.

Panthers Beat Penguins on Patric Hornqvist Night

“I just tried to be myself and try to bring the competitive part of my game and my personality,” Hornqvist said.

“I think it shared off to the other guys and then we were off to such a good start in my first year too. And after two years, we kept rolling. We won the Presidents’ Trophy my second year and then lost in the Stanley Cup Final the third year.”

And they will continue to as Hornqvist enters his next chapter as a scouting and development consultant for the team.

“This team is for real now and that’s why I decided to work for them too,” Hornqvist said.

“They really have something good going. Bill turned it around and you can really see it on the ice and every layer of the franchise is really rolling right now.”

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Zito gives Hornqvist just as much credit for helping set the standard for the Panthers.

And there was a good reason why Zito decided to make Hornqvist his first-ever acquisition when he took over as Florida GM in 2021.

“I had the ‘luxury’ of playing against him in Columbus and watching him,” the ex-Blue Jackets assistant general manager said.

“They knocked us out of the playoffs in the first round. But they were great games and it was really competitive. That was my wake-up call to a different level of competitive and focus, but it even transcends that. It’s an energy.”

Sergei Bobrovsky could attest to the nonstop motor of competitiveness Hornqvist was playing with in those games.

The 5-foot-11, 189-pound winger was not the biggest guy out there, but he certainly was one of the strongest — and he spent most of his career being a nuisance to goaltenders near the front of the net.

A good amount of his 264 regular season goals, 28 playoff goals and his iconic Stanley Cup winner were all scored near that blue paint as well.

“It was so hard to play against him,” Bobrovsky said. “And I was so happy when he got to our side.”

After all of those battles Hornqvist had with him in the playoffs, he became one of Bobrovsky’s favorite teammates pretty quickly.

It took Zito some convincing to get Hornqvist to waive his no-trade clause to go from the team he won the Stanley Cup with to the young and unproven Panthers, but his personality immediately rubbed off on his teammates from the moment he walked in the door.

Both his unwillingness to accept anything less than the best and the caring attitude he has towards the people around him.

“I think the biggest thing, especially for young guys, is just seeing his work ethic,” said Evan Rodrigues, who played with Hornqvist while still breaking into the league in Pittsburgh before joining him in Florida this offseason.


Former Florida Panthers alternate captain Patric Hornqvist speaks Friday night after his career was celebrated in Sunrise. // Photo @GeorgeRichards

“You kind of see what it takes to stick as an NHL player, and it’s not all about your ability on the ice but it’s the things you do off the ice. It’s your preparation, your work habits, and if you want to make a good and lasting impression, he is probably the guy you want to look at and follow in his footsteps.”

Before he even stepped foot in a regular season game for Florida, he was already stepping in and helping newer players feel welcomed.

“Right away, when I got here, I got a text from him and he gave me a call and he helped me a lot,” said Gus Forsling, a fellow Swede who was claimed off waivers by the Panthers just before the start of the 2020-21 season.

“He helped me gain confidence and he did everything around here to help me and the team.”

And that is what made Hornqvist a valuable asset to the team even toward the end of his career.

Bobrovsky, who was as important as anyone for the Panthers as they made their run to the Stanley Cup Final, was the most appreciative of Patric’s efforts.

“I was so happy to play with him and he was great for me,” Bobrovsky said.

“For the last half of the year, he was just my shooter. He would be in there with me every day and every morning. It didn’t matter if the team was there or not, and he would even travel sometimes just to be there for me to help me get prepared for the game, so I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and his career.”

Hornqvist got to watch firsthand as all of the groundwork he laid came to fruition as the team battled its way through the playoffs.

And he was proud of it.

“I got a front row seat for the whole run,” Hornqvist said.

“It was unreal to see that building from early January to losing the fifth game in the Stanley Cup Final and how much the team grew. You can see their faces and their emotions. There was ups and downs, but to be a part of that, it was great and I think I learned a lot for my job right now to take that next step faster.”



  • When: Sunday, 1 p.m.
  • Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; 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/Panthers App
  • Last Season: Florida won 2-1
  • This Season (Florida leads 1-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Jackets 4 OT (Nov.6); Ap. 11. At Columbus: Sunday
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Columbus leads 26-18-4
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Tuesday at Seattle, 10 p.m.

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