The Florida Panthers opened their season on Thursday night by paying tribute to the late Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez.
The entire Panthers lineup donned #16 jerseys and helmet decals in honor of the former Rookie of the Year during the pregame skate. The organization also donated $35,000 to the Jose Fernandez Foundation.
The gesture follows the Marlins roster wearing #16 jerseys against the New York Mets in their first game back after the 24-year-old pitcher’s death and the Miami Heat sporting warmup jerseys with Hernandez’s name and initials on them during the preseason. The Miami Dolphins held a moment of silence on the day of the All-Star’s death.
The Panthers started their season off on a winning note after their winning move during warmups. They beat the New Jersey Devils 2-1 in overtime.
Fernandez died along with two friends in an early morning boating accident in Miami. Their 32-foot vessel hit a jetty extending from the shore at a high rate of speed. In parts of four seasons with the Marlins, the Cuban immigrant went 38-17 with a 2.58 ERA. He led the National League in strikeouts per nine innings in his last season.