South Florida got a mustache ride when the Florida Panthers signed George Parros on July 1. When the Cats signed Parros most people assumed that he was to act as a bodyguard for the eminent rookie Jonathan Huberdeau. The fact is the perennial NHL tough guy offers the Cats much more than brute force and he will be used as a tool to mentor many of the team’s young players that will come of age in the next two years.
Most hockey fans see Parros as an enforcer and let’s face it he is, but the man with the mustache hasn’t always been all about muscle. In his 1998-1999 season with the Chicago Freeze of the NAHL Parros notched 50 points and 126 penalty minutes in 54 games. The guy is 32 years old but you don’t make it in the NHL for eight seasons unless you’ve got the stuff.
The dude isn’t all brawn either. After the Freeze he played his college hockey at Princeton University where he majored, and graduated with a degree in economics. In his freshman year at Princeton Parros was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the 8th round of the NHL Entry Draft. Instead of joining the NHL Parros stayed at Princeton for a few more years. He took it easy on the ivy league boys. He had a sporadic record at Princeton, scoring no more than 22 points in a season. Can’t blame him though, he was also solving the world’s economic crisis at the same time.
After graduation Parros decided playing hockey was more fun than a desk job. Who could blame him? He set up camp with the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL in 2002. Parros’ legacy was sealed in the 2004-05 season with the Monarchs when he achieved 247 penalty minutes in 67 games.
The Kings played Parros as an enforcer in the 2005-06 season but he didn’t come into his own until the 2007-08 season with the Anaheim Ducks when he played 69 games and tallied 183 penalty minutes. Ever since then his fate as an enforcer has been set.
The 32 year-old right wing is much more than a sack of muscle though, he is a tool that Tallon and coach Kevin Dineen will use to mold the future of the franchise. He’s a proven goal scorer, a tough guy, and has more intelligence than most guys on the ice-pad. Parros isn’t a bodyguard, he’s a mentor, and he’s a coach on the ice for young kids like Huberdeau, Erik Gudbranson, Nick Bjugstad, and Quinton Howden. There is a big difference between playing hockey and playing in the NHL and Opa is a guy who can teach the kids a thing or two about how to get things done.