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Ira Winderman: Heat's Udonis Haslem getting NHL playoff chills from Panthers

Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel on

Published in Basketball

These have been tense times for Udonis Haslem, sweating out these playoffs, stakes raised, clock ticking.

Oh, and he’s been involved with the Miami Heat’s championship chase, as well.

Consider it playoffs squared for the South Florida icon, because the veteran Heat captain also can’t get enough of his Florida Panthers.

“It’s exciting, really exciting,” Haslem said amid a playoff chase of his own, both teams now on to the next round. “The way they have been able to play this year has captivated my attention.”

In some ways, Haslem is a typical middle-aged (sorry, UD) suburbanite caught up in the NHL, with FLA Live Arena in Sunrise a short drive from his Southwest Ranches estate.

“They’re keeping me on the edge of my seat,” he said. “It’s really something.”

 

The connection to the game and to the Panthers is about more than proximity, though.

It also is about a brotherhood, a fellowship, the ability to see himself in those who have put their careers on ice.

In addition to his friendship with Panthers forward Anthony Duclair, he has forged a bond with Brett Peterson, the first Black assistant general manager in the NHL.

“As I started to take stuff toward retirement and ownership and different things like that,” Haslem, 41, said, “I just wanted to align myself with like-minded people that can teach me things. So I’m being a sponge.”

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