TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today they have signed a three-year partnership extension with the Lions de Lyon Hockey Club of the French Magnus League through the 2018-19 season. The highlight of the partnership includes the possibility for the Lightning’s top minor league affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, returning to Lyon to hold training camp and play pre-season games. The Crunch held training camp in Lyon in both 2014 and 2015, playing pre-season games against the Binghamton Senators in 2014 and the Utica Comets in 2015 as well as against the Lions de Lyon of the French Magnus League. The partnership also includes other business and marketing elements.
Hockey possesses a long and rich history in the French city of Lyon. The Sporting Club of Lyon won the first hockey championship in the country’s history in 1907. Many other teams have called Lyon home since and before the LHC Les Lions. The Lyons were founded by team president Sébastien Berthet and made their debut on May 1, 2009 after being approved by the French Federation of Ice Hockey.
The LHC Les Lions have called the Charlemagne Skating Rink home since 1967. The arena, with a capacity of 3,175 seats, is one of the largest in France. The team draws some of the largest crowds in the country each weekend, hosting an average of 3,000 fans per game. The team has seen a quick ascension through the ranks in just the four years since being relegated from the Magnus League. In 2013-14, Lyon beat the Bordeaux Boxers to return to the top division in France, after having been beaten in the finals by the Brest Albatross in the previous season. In both 2014-15 and 2015-16, the Lions stayed clear of relegation and will once again compete in the Magnus League in 2016-17. Excluding their championship in 1907, the Lions’ best Magnus League finish has been third, which the team accomplished in 1998 and 1999.