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Florida Panthers replace 9-year-old skater’s stolen hockey gear – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

SUNRISE, FLA. (WSVN) – The Florida Panthers helped replace a young skater’s hockey gear that was among the items stolen after several vehicles were burglarized in Dania Beach.

Newly retired player Shawn Thornton greeted 9-year-old Brandon Schnell, Monday, at the BB&T Center, home of the Panthers.

“I heard you lost your bag. Good thing we’ve got another one for you,” Thornton said.

The young skater’s favorite team replaced hundreds of dollars worth of hockey gear after it was stolen from his mother’s car last week.

“This was totally unexpected. I merely reached out to the Panthers because Brandon plays with the Learn to Play program with the Florida Panthers,” said Brian Schnell, Brandon’s father. “I reached out to them and merely asked if they could send me a price list of all the stuff that was stolen because I was going to attempt to replace it. It’s not inexpensive equipment.”

The Panthers instead replaced what was taken.

“We decided that we would help them out and get him a new set of gear, so the smile on his face was worth everything,” said Thornton.

The family car was one of six vehicles that were broken into when crooks went on a smash and grab in the parking lot of a Dania Beach marina. A family laptop was also stolen besides the young player’s hockey skates and gym bag containing other equipment.

“The Broward Sheriff’s Office is doing a great job investigating the crime, and we’re hopeful that we’re going to catch who did it,” said Brian. “They’ll have to answer when they get caught.”

What the crook’s couldn’t steal was the 9-year-old’s dream.

“Really, really, really happy. Like very happy,” said Brandon. “They’re cooler than my old ones, actually.”

Two months on the ice and his dad says he’s already a natural.

“To be a little part of that, and hopefully in 30 years, somebody’s talking to him about this day after his NHL career is over,” said Thornton.

If you have any information on the burglaries, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.

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