On April 23, the Lightning Foundation awarded grants to 16 local organizations totaling $120,500 at the Community Awards and Donor Recognition Reception. Grant applicants were asked to detail their organizations and give a proposed program or project, along with a description of how it qualifies under the Lightning Foundation's funding guidelines. The Foundation's Board of Directors selected the 16 organizations.
Tampabaylightning.com is profiling each of the organizations and the grant they received. Check back daily for a new organization and see how the Lightning Foundation is truly fulfilling its mission to make Tampa Bay a better place to live, work and play.
Tampa Bay Lightning Sled Hockey
The Lightning Foundation has a goal to focus its resources on a number of programs throughout the Tampa Bay community in hopes of making Tampa Bay a better place to live, work and play. Among them is a mission to support amateur hockey within the region.
"Ice hockey is a non-traditional sport in central Florida," said David Cole, director of Tampa Bay Lightning fan development. "In order for us to develop a greater interest in hockey, we need to develop more ice and in-line players."
The Lightning Foundation honored the Tampa Bay Lightning Sled Hockey Program for the second year in a row at its end of the year awards ceremony with a grant to help support the program.
The grant, along with a matching grant from Bright House Networks, will provide funding for equipment, travel expenses and support.
"Without the Foundation’s support, it would be impossible to provide our physically and cognitively challenged Bay area athletes such a high quality sled hockey program," said Cole, who coordinates the Tampa Bay Lightning Sled Hockey Program. "Not only is all of the equipment, ice and instruction free, but the Foundation paid for a number of our athletes to travel to Salt Lake City and Birmingham for tournaments this past year."
Sled hockey gives the physically and cognitively challenged a chance to play hockey. It is recognized internationally and is part of the Paralympics. The Tampa Bay Lightning Sled Hockey Program is the first of its kind in the Tampa Bay area.
"Because of the cost can be prohibitive for some families, the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation, through generous contributions, enables boys and girls to pursue their ice and in-line hockey dreams," Cole said.