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2023 NHL All-Star Game/Sunrise

Roberto Luongo Returns to NHL All-Star Skills in Sunrise

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Florida Panthers ‘center’ Roberto Luongo shares a laugh with Patrick Marleau during an alumni game at the IceDen in Coral Springs on Wednesday night. — Photo @ColbyDGuy

Florida Panthers legend Roberto Luongo will make his return to the crease as a celebrity goalie in the NHL All-Star Skills Breakaway Challenge tonight at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise.

“They asked me if I was interested,” Luongo quipped, “and I don’t know why, but I said yes.’’

The 2022 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee has not played goalie since what was his final game with the Panthers in 2019.

Luongo has played center in a couple of alumni games — including Wednesday night in Coral Springs — but only dusted off his goalie equipment on Tuesday.

On Friday night, however, he will be back in the crease as the celebrity goalie in the NHL All-Star ‘Breakaway Challenge.’

He said he would be trying to stop Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk in the event.

Quite a challenge for a guy who has not done much goaltending of late.

“It has been four years since I put the pads on. I went on the ice (Tuesday) for the first time and I’m still feeling it in my legs but it was fun,” Luongo said.

“After four years off, I feel a lot better than I thought I would.”

Luongo went through a full practice with Panthers goaltending coach Robb Tallas to get himself back in the groove before he will face trick shots from some of the NHL’s biggest stars.

“I felt like he was getting me ready for the Monday game against Tampa but I told him ‘It’s just for the skills, buddy’,” Luongo said with a laugh. “But it was fun.”

Nhl all-star luongo

Roberto Luongo comes out of the Florida Panthers’ locker room for his first practice after being re-acquired by the team on March 6, 2014. Luongo will wear the famed ‘Pink Panther’ mask in tonight’s NHL All-Star Skills competition in Sunrise. — Photo @GeorgeRichards

Luongo took to Twitter to decide which of his helmets from his two stints with the Panthers he will wear during the competition.

Unsurprisingly, the old-school Pink Panther helmet he wore in his final season with the Panthers in 2004-05 and then wore again when he returned in 2014 won by a landslide over the gold helmet he donned in his final game as a Panther.

He is leaving the rest of his gear as a surprise.

FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK

ALL-STAR WEEK, SOUTH FLORIDA

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