TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that they will continue their partnership with the Lyon Hockey Club Lions for the 2015-16 season. The highlight of the season-long affiliation includes the Lightning’s top minor league affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, holding training camp and playing preseason games versus the Utica Comets in Lyon, France. It 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 at 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 2014-15, the Lions stayed clear of relegation with a record of 8-15-3 and will once again compete in the Magnus League in 2015-16. Excluding their championship in 1907, the Lions’ best Magnus League finish has been third, which the team accomplished in 1998 and 1999.