When people think of sports, one usually thinks about their favorite sport and team. A memorable game or power play may be talked about for days. Hard core fans will feverishly discuss fails or missed opportunities in a very important game. Emotions are invested in teams and in individual players alike.
Most often one would rarely speak of sports and art in the same sentence. However, for the Florida Panthers, there was a perfect opportunity for art and hockey to merge and commemorate a huge milestone in hockey history. For honoring the Florida Panthers’ own Ironman, they needed a unique, memorable, and one-of-a-kind piece.
In the NHL, or National Hockey League, a very special recognition is given to players for their dedication and attendance. The Ironman title is given to any player who has played the most consecutive games in a row, never once missing a game. The current ironman has played over one thousand games! It is without hesitation or question that the current members of The Panthers wanted to do something extra special for their current Ironman.
As coworkers brainstormed how to celebrate their Ironman, they arrived at an idea to have commemorative hockey skates painted with symbols unique to their player. In the talks and planning, somehow, Mike Valcy, the Panther’s own Massage Therapist, volunteered to find the perfect artist for this project.
As many of us do when we need recommendations, Mike published a post on his Facebook thread in search of anyone who knew of a local artist that could take on this project. About just a half hour after he put up his post, he got a bite! His friend Joseph Imbrogno had the perfect referral. Joseph is the Director of Guest Excellence at Plunge Beach Resort in Lauderdale-by-the Sea, and he is known to have ongoing exhibitions for local artists. He knew of Vicki Rosenthal, owner of Vicki Rosenthal Art and pending Trademark “My Soul, My Shoes: Wear Your Soul on Your Shoes”.
Vicki Rosenthal is a true artist. She knew, as a child, that she had a talent for art. She was given an opportunity to build on that talent and give back to the community through her art. On her website Vicki states: “I am a social visual impact artist on a mission to advance advocacy through authentic art.”
Vicki has applied for the Trademark “My Soul, My Shoes” with the mission of creating custom works for individuals to express themselves and the causes dear to their hearts. Vicki paints on ethically manufactured shoes and facemasks. She is not only using her talents and her voice for good causes, but for all artwork sold, she invests 10% of net profits back into grassroot causes. The organization that she donated part of the profit from the #Yandle hockey project was Friends of the FL Panther Refuge.
Originally, Vicki was not drawn to any particular career, but she knew she wanted to help people. She has a Master’s in social work, was a Grant Writer, and worked for community based organizations. Then in 2018, Vicki realized her purpose with art which resulted in her drive for more community based involvement and opportunities for education for causes and awareness. Vicki says, “I like being the tool for people to tell their stories through their causes and what they believe in”.
When Joseph put her in touch with Mike, that was the beginning of many rounds of back and forths in order to arrive at the perfect gift for the Ironman. Mike wanted to make sure Vicki could “see” the vision that Mike and his coworkers had in mind for the perfect gift, and likewise, Vicki wanted to make sure she gave it her best. Vicki was charged with the project of painting on hockey skates – a first for her!
She went above and beyond by buying used skates in order to practice on the material since she wanted to make sure she delivered. And she did deliver! It was truly a team effort.
Between receiving the skates and coming up with a design to Vicki executing her masterpiece, was all about a month’s time. Needless to say that Ironman #3 was very happy with his skates! Vicki came through in a big way!
Photo credits: Donner Photos
Anamaria Moreno is an Elementary school teacher. Born in Costa Rica, but mostly raised in Venezuela, Ms. Moreno came to South Florida in 1996 where she has resided ever since. She graduated from Lynn University, with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She has taught in the classroom for 18 years, most recently teaching the first grade for the past seven years. Before becoming a teacher, Ms. Moreno was involved in volunteer work with the Child Life Specialists Department at Miami Children’s Hospital. She also served as member of the Board of Directors for “A Caring Pregnancy Center” in Miami. Most recently, Ms. Moreno has taught at an elementary school in Oakland Park. Ms. Moreno also teaches ESOL to Adults in Night School. When Ms. Moreno is not in the classroom, she enjoys baking custom specialty cakes, face painting, and enjoys creating Arts and Crafts.