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Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman honored to “take steps” on behalf of the American Heart Association

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning

For years Steve Yzerman maintained a reputation as a highly-skilled forward, which today has him enshrined in the Hockey Hall-of-Fame as one of the greatest NHL centers ever.

A smooth skater with deft hands and a solid scoring touch, Yzerman, hardly the sparer, rarely engaged in fights.

That is, until now.

In conjunction with the Tampa Bay Lightning organization’s commitment to serving the community, Yzerman will participate in the battle against heart disease, as he is set to join fellow Lightning employees at the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk on Saturday, November 10, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The event begins at 8 a.m.

The goal is to not only raise funds which allow for research on how to defeat heart disease, but also to educate the public with information that can save a life, like how to eat better, how to recognize the warning signs of heart attack and how to talk to a doctor about critical health choices.

As a former professional athlete who can relate first-hand to the critical nature of living a healthy lifestyle, Yzerman said his decision to participate was pretty much a no-brainer.

“For me, this was a great opportunity to get more involved in the public eye, give back to the community, and to meet a lot of great people, while supporting a worthy cause at the same time,” Yzerman said. “I’m really excited to get out there and contribute as part of a team representing the Lightning organization.”

The idea to become involved in the fight against heart disease initially was an attractive one, but perhaps took on a new sense of urgency for Yzerman once he became aware of the illness’ glaring statistics.

I’m really excited to get out there and contribute as part of a team representing the Lightning organization. - Steve Yzerman

According to the American Heart Association’s official web site, heart disease is the number one killer of women, with a large majority of that same demographic still considered “at risk.”

With that in mind, the cause suddenly took on a bit of a more personal aspect, at least where Yzerman is concerned.

Aside from being well-known as the Bolts general manager, Yzerman is also a husband, and a father of three girls, so it goes without saying he has a natural investment, and perhaps a duty, to participate in Saturday’s events.

Furthermore, his mother, he said, suffered a stroke two years ago that was linked to heart disease, adding even more incentive for him to get personally involved.

“I’m married with three daughters, so I want them to live happy and healthy lives, and my mother too,” Yzerman added. “I read up on some of the research the American Heart Association did on strokes, and realized what a positive impact it could have.”

Just as significant perhaps is the large presence the Lightning organization, combined with philanthropists throughout the entire community, will have on Saturday.

Yzerman and Lightning employees will begin pounding the pavement early to battle what claims more than 813,804 American lives each year. There will be a one-mile, as well as a three-mile race for supporters to join in.

In just a two-month period leading up to the race, however, there was an even greater race in which to compete, that culminated with several “teams” within the Lightning organization going all in to raise money for the event.

In total, the Bolts drummed up approximately $36,665 in support of the cause.

The funds, combined with what is expected to be a large display of public support, come all on behalf of finding a cure.

And when it comes to walking to support the cause, now that’s a step in the right direction.

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