Florida Panthers goalie pays tribute to New Canaan hockey player who died during game

Darien native and Florida Panthers goalie Spencer Knight is honoring Teddy Balkind, the New Canaan player who died while playing the game he loved.

Mark Sudol

Apr 8, 2022, 9:29 PM

Updated 774 days ago

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Darien native and Florida Panthers goalie Spencer Knight is honoring Teddy Balkind, the New Canaan player who died while playing the game he loved.
Knight has changed the design of his Florida Panthers mask to include pictures of Balkind and sayings from his teammates.
Knight teamed up with professional mask artist David Gunnarsson, who has created many amazing NHL masks for stars like Rangers legend Henrik Lundqvist.
"It's so important at times like this to make sure that we just come together and I thought this helmet would be a great way to represent the Connecticut hockey community and everyone who knew Teddy and his family," said Knight.
"Very, very unique and special for me to do a mask like this. This is something I will never forget and I was so honored to paint it," said Gunnarsson.
Balkind died earlier this year during a game in a fluke accident where an opposing player's skate cut his neck.
The 16-year-old's death gripped local high school athletic departments and the country.
It brought up demands for youth players in the state to wear neck guards.
"It was one of those things you kind of sit back you're like 'Wow you know, like what just happened?'" said Knight.
Now when Knight takes the ice, Teddy Balkind is there too.
Knight also wore a Teddy Balkind jersey in a game against New Canaan's Max Pacioretty and the Vegas Golden Knights after Balkind died.


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