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The Panther Muscle Fan: A Story of Dedication, Loss, and Hope

Posted at 8:50 PM, Jun 20, 2024

Rob Veglia, the Panther Muscle Fan, has become a symbol of unwavering dedication and passion for the Florida Panthers. For 20 years, Rob has been a season ticket holder, enduring the ups and downs of his beloved team. But this year, as the Panthers made it to the playoffs, Rob decided to do something crazy—don the muscle suit.

"I told my buddy, ‘I'm gonna do something crazy. I'm going in the muscle suit’. He's like, ‘There's no way you're going in the muscle suit’,” Rob recalls. “It was a dare. As soon as I put the suit on and walked up here, everybody's coming up to me and high fiving. I'm like, ‘Oh, this is it. I found my groove’."

Rob’s infectious enthusiasm and commitment quickly made him a fan favorite. He has been featured on Amrit Banks' Instagram, the Stanley Cup Game 3 intro on ESPN, and even starred in a Verizon commercial targeting Florida Panthers fans.

For Rob, the Panthers are more than just a team—they're family. This connection became even more poignant with the recent loss of his son, Dominic. Six weeks ago, Dom passed away, and the Panthers’ support during this difficult time has meant the world to Rob.

"The team sent me flowers, sent me a Tkachuk jersey autographed, send me condolences, all the dancers sent condolences. I feel like it's all about him this year. And it's giving me some hope," Rob shares, holding back tears. "I love the team, but I love my son more. And you know, just the fact that they're so welcoming to him it's heartwarming."

Dominic's impact was profound. At nearly 25 years old, his life may not have been long, but it was filled with joy and a contagious smile. This spirit of positivity is something Panthers head coach Paul Maurice often emphasizes.

Despite the personal tragedy, Rob continues to honor Dom’s memory through their shared love for the Panthers. He parks in the same spot, eats the same food, beats the same drum, and always brings Dom along in spirit.

"I'm bringing him to all of the game. He's gonna watch the whole thing. He's gonna make it to the finals. And he's gonna see them win… it's not like we're just fans. We're actually a family here. And I'll never turn my back on them,” Rob says with pride. "Whatever happens, good or bad, I'll always be a Panthers fan. Love these guys."

Rob's story resonates with the community, reminding everyone of the deeper connections that sports can foster. It’s not just about winning or losing; it’s about the relationships built and the shared experiences.

As the Panthers chase the Stanley Cup, Rob Veglia, the Panther Muscle Fan, stands as a testament to loyalty, resilience, and the power of community. He hopes to celebrate not just the team’s success, but also the life and legacy of his son, Dom.

For Rob and many others, the Panthers are more than a team—they are a beacon of hope and a source of unity in times of joy and sorrow. Together, they dream of a Stanley Cup victory, dedicated to Dom.

To follow Rob’s journey, visit his Instagram at @panther_musclefan.

Inside South Florida

10:49 AM, Jul 26, 2019

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