Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, far right, and Lighting CEO Tod Leiweke, second from right, present a check from the Lighting Foundation to the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation during the Lighting's game against of the Dallas Stars at the St. Pete Times Forum on October 18, 2010 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/NHLI via Getty Images)
Following Monday night’s game against the Dallas Stars, the Tampa Bay Lightning had reason to celebrate. After all, following 60 minutes of play, they really had earned two victories.
Tampa Bay defeated Dallas 5-4 in front of a raucous crowd, an equally strong number rallied behind the team to support the fight against cancer as the Lightning, along with the NHL and NHLPA, held Hockey Fights Cancer Night at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Lightning and St. Pete Times Forum employees wore lavender, which represents all cancers, in support of the cause, while fans were also encouraged to do the same. The team’s participation in honoring the importance of cancer research and raising awareness about the disease fulfilled a small portion of the NHL’s league-wide initiative, which encourages the entire hockey community, including all 30 NHL clubs, players, management and fans to join the fight in support of others. Nonetheless, its significance outweighed its size several times over, as it proved to be a huge success.
“The support of this night from the league and our local community is tremendous,” Executive Director of the Lightning Foundation Kasey Smith said.
Video clips featuring messages of encouragement from Lightning players appeared on Lightning Vision inside the lower bowl during the game, and a public service announcement was also on display encouraging those in attendance to support the cause and to join in the fight against cancer. Prior to the puck drop, honorary guest Colleen Sowerby, Director of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training, kicked off the action with the traditional opening call of “Let’s Play Hockey.”
The true and telling sign of the organization’s dedication to finding a cure for the disease, however, culminated at the intermissions with special presentations on the Lightning bench. The Lightning Foundation, in conjunction with the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiative, made honorary contributions to deserving organizations, including a $10,000 donation to Tampa’s Moffitt Cancer Center in support of its Witness Project of Tampa Bay to fight against breast cancer, as well as an $8,115 contribution to the Leukemia & Lymphoma society from proceeds of the 2010 Bolt Run.
Fans also received a chance to support the cause by purchasing tickets to the game, as a portion of the proceeds stemming from ticket sales benefited the Lightning Foundation.
“We were so very pleased to be able to pass along funds from the NHL and our own initiatives,” Smith added. “Just as important, we believe we introduced new resources in the fight against cancer and as always, Lightning fans responded.”