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"Inside The Lightning: Giving Back" Lightning Foundation's Commitment to Local Charities Spotlighted

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

TAMPA –  The Tampa Bay Lightning organization’s charitable efforts is the focus in the next edition of Inside the Lightning.  The franchise’s commitment to giving back to the local community which has been so supportive throughout the team’s existence is a top priority for the Lightning Foundation.  Hosted by Paul Kennedy, Inside the Lightning: Giving Back premieres on Sun Sports Saturday, December 27 at 10:30 p.m. immediately following the Panthers at Lightning game telecast on Sun Sports. Multiple replays will air throughout the 2008-09 NHL season.

Fans will learn more about the Foundation’s popular annual events and hear directly from Lightning players, such as Paul Ranger, Vinny Prospal, Marty St. Louis and Olaf Kolzig, as they talk about their personal involvement. For Kolzig, a new member to the Tampa Bay community, his endeavor is a labor of love and one that he can relate to personally.  Kolzig’s son, Carson, is afflicted with autism, so he helped found Athletes Against Autism to raise awareness and encourage additional research.  Sun Sports’ cameras spent an afternoon with him as he visited Sydney’s School for Autism in Tampa to speak with students and teachers.  The school was started by Kathy Swenson four years ago and through her passion and dedication it has become one of the leading institutions in its field.

The Lightning Foundation is dedicated to supporting local organizations which enrich the lives of those living throughout the Tampa Bay community, and it has excelled under the leadership and guidance of Executive Director Nancy Crane.  Events such as The Champions Dinner for Charity and Pink Out Night benefiting Moffitt Cancer Center are just some of the ways the Foundation contributes.  Food drives for Metropolitan Ministries, toy drives benefiting Toys for Tots, Player Auction Nights, the Lightning Invitational Golf Tournament, Glitz & Sticks benefiting Tampa General Hospital, and the Reindeer Run & Holiday Festival are also part of the countless fundraising events Crane and her staff have established in order to continue to give back to the Bay Area.

The show also hears from David Cole, Lightning Director of Fan Development, who takes viewers on the ice for a very unique style of play called sled hockey, and Arlynn Haarer, Community Relations and Foundation Manager, who travels with each player as he visits his particular charity and details the process that brings it all together.

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