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Panthers pay tribute to late Marlins, Alonso High star Fernandez at opener

Associated Pres
Panthers players pay tribute to late Marlins and Alonso High pitcher Jose Fernandez by wearing his name and No. 16 on the back of their jerseys during warmups for their season opener against the Devils on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, in Sunrise.

Associated Pres Panthers players pay tribute to late Marlins and Alonso High pitcher Jose Fernandez by wearing his name and No. 16 on the back of their jerseys during warmups for their season opener against the Devils on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, in Sunrise.

SUNRISE — A number of Panthers players considered Jose Fernandez their friend.

They honored the late Marlins and Alonso High pitcher Thursday night before their season opener against the Devils.

The Panthers wore identical, custom-made No. 16 jerseys during warmups. All the jerseys had "Fernandez" on the back. The Panthers also had special helmet decals made up with a No. 16 set on a home plate outline with the Panthers' color scheme of blue, red and gold.

The entire team signed one of the jerseys to present to Fernandez's family. The Panthers also donated $35,000 to the Jose Fernandez Foundation before the game.

Fernandez, 24, died in a boat crash off the coast of Miami Beach last month.

Aaron Ekblad, Nick Bjugstad and new captain Derek MacKenzie are among the players who were friends with Fernandez.

"Our guys were extremely upset" when they heard about Hernandez's death, Panthers CEO Matt Caldwell said.

Panthers pay tribute to late Marlins, Alonso High star Fernandez at opener 10/13/16 [Last modified: Thursday, October 13, 2016 8:45pm]
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