CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. (WSVN) — A devoted Florida Panthers fan has found a unique way to express his love for his favorite team, and this is hardly his first time in the spotlight.
Like most retirees, Claude Pouliot can indulge in his hobby as much as he likes. 7News cameras captured the Canadian native taking in a Panthers practice at the BB&T Center in Sunrise on a Tuesday afternoon.
"When I moved here, I became a Panthers fan all the way," Pouliot said from his Coral Springs home. "I’m not a Canadian [hockey] fan anymore. I’m a Panthers fan."
It’s a pleasant life he and his wife Diane have created in South Florida.
However, unlike most retirees, he has become a star, at least during Panthers games. Pouliot is the team’s singing, kissing, smiling, dancing usher.
Pouliot’s stage is the BB&T Center’s Sections 108 and 109. "I do my thing, take my stop sign, I play guitar,’" he said.
Sometimes, he steals attention from the boys on the ice. Fans have taken notice. "He’s always welcoming, always entertaining," said a fan wearing a Panthers jersey.
BB&T employees also value the joy he brings. "I could be in the worst mood ever, and if I see Claude, everything is all right," said a fellow usher.
"You have to give Claude a kiss when you come to the game," said a woman.
When asked whether someone has told him he should stick to showing people to their seats, Pouliot replied, "No, never. It’s fun to have fun at work."
Part of the reason Pouliot sought the job back in 2008 was he missed his old job as a Canadian pop star. For decades, he was French Canadian recording artist Ricky Mason.
Pouliot confirmed he was, indeed, a household name in Canada. "You’d see me on TV. You’d see me everywhere," he said.
Pouliot remains a consummate entertainer, only now his one-man-show appears during Panthers home games, with one goal in mind. "Make sure that people that come to my section, for those two hours, three hours they’re there with me, to forget your troubles," he said. "The electricity is good. I love it."
Pouliot has no plans to slow down after hockey season ends. He plans to continue ushering other events at the BB&T Center.