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by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

Thanks to the support of its fans in Hockey Bay, USA, the 2004 Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning earlier this week distributed more than $200,000 to local charities. During the NHL's work stoppage, the Lightning pledged 2% of all season ticket deposits remaining with the club would be directed to charity. This was in addition to the 10% interest rate season ticket holders earned in St. Pete Times Forum credit during the league shut down.

The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, the Pepin Heart Hospital and Dr. Kiran C. Patel Research Institute at University Community Hospital, the Tampa General Hospital Foundation and the Lightning Foundation each received $50,000 through the program. And additionally, because of the Lightning's partnership with the PGA Tour's Chrysler Championship and an investment in its Birdies for Charities program, each of these causes also received a $15,000 "bonus," bringing total contributions to $65,000 for each charity.

"We appreciate our fans' dedication and support of the organization, especially during the tough times we all had during the work stoppage," said Ron Campbell, President of the Lightning and the St. Pete Times Forum. "As an organization, we have rebounded from the work stoppage better than any other team in the league when you look at our growth in fan and sponsorship support.

"The charity component reinforces our franchise's commitment to the Tampa Bay community, but it would not have been possible without that great fan support. We want to thank everyone involved for helping us make such a strong impact in the Tampa Bay community."

Additionally, another $65,000 check was presented on behalf of The Lightning Foundation to the Child Abuse Council of Tampa Bay and its "Baby Bungalow" project in south Tampa. Thousands of more dollars were donated to local charities in December; specific charities designated by season ticket holders when electing to maintain their accounts with the Lightning during the work stoppage. (A complete list is available through The Lightning Foundation).

Within the next 30 days, The Lightning Foundation will be kicking off a grant program aimed at supporting local charities whose missions focus on youth hockey, education and medical treatment for those in need. Individuals wishing for more information on the grant program are asked to contact Nancy Crane, Executive Director of the Lightning Foundation, at 813-301-6590.
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