Despite this past season’s results, the Tampa Bay Lightning always position themselves to be champions off the ice as well, specifically within the community.
That was the case this past week, when on Monday, May 13, members of the Lightning organization, including upper management, employees and several of the team’s players traded in their hockey sticks and skates for sets of golf clubs and spikes to take part in the Lightning’s annual corporate partner golf outing at Hunter’s Green Country Club in Tampa.
The idea is for the team to show its appreciation and commitment to its valued partners, as well as to get the players out of their gear and into the community to create more of a transparency between themselves and the fans.
“It’s a nice event where everyone was having fun, and I was glad I was able to participate,” Lightning forward BJ Crombeen said.
Players hit the links at 1 p.m. for a shotgun start and were grouped with corporate partners before hitting the tee boxes. Each group consisted of four individuals in addition to a Lightning celebrity, comprising current players, alumni and television and radio personalities.
In addition to enjoying 18 holes of golf, the teams also competed in several fun and friendly contests that were held on the course, including longest drive, closest to the pin, and a putting competition.
“They’re tough,” added defenseman Victor Hedman. “Some of us were hitting good shots and some of us were hitting bad shots, but for the most part it was even and the important thing was that everyone was having fun.”
Forward Ryan Malone joined Lightning partners for the day at Hunter's Green Country Club.
At the end of the night, which featured an excellent steak dinner and a brief closing ceremony, it was clear that proficiency on the ice often equates itself with proficiency on the fairways and greens as some of the Lightning celebrities and their guests took home some hardware.
The captain of the 2004 Stanley Cup champion Lightning, Dave Andreychuk, and his team consisting of Joe Petrillo and Steve Coad from Lexus, along with Tony Harris and Tomas Idinge of Accenture, took home first place in the tournament.
Second place went to Lightning on-air personality and former player Chris Dingman, and his squad comprising of Rod Patterson and Doug Bertz from Sunbelt, along with Tom Eifred of Ritz Safety and Lightning employee Bob Rossi.
On an individual front, Jana Jones (Tampa Bay Times) and Alex Rey (JJ Taylor) took home prizes for winning the longest drive competition, while Jones doubled up to win the ladies’ bracket in the closest to the pin competition, with Rob Jennings of TECO winning the award on the men’s side. Bill Gieseking of Pepin Distributing won the putting contest.
For their efforts, the first place team in the tournament won autographed Steven Stamkos jerseys, encased in a nice frame, while the second place team took home Vincent Lecavalier signed game-used sticks and luggage bags.
The victors of each of the individual competitions were awarded four tickets in a suite, the chance to watch pre-game warm-ups from the penalty box and a post-game meet-and-greet opportunity with a Bolts player.
All and all, the event was deemed a huge success, as it continues to grow more and more each year.
“It was great to see the turnout this year, which is a tribute to all of our great sponsors who support us year in and year out,” Andreychuk said. “For another year this was a fun event, and on behalf of the Lightning organization we couldn’t be more pleased with the relationship we hold with them.”