TAMPA BAY – For the 12th consecutive season, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Lightning Foundation have teamed up with community leader Steve Yerrid and The Yerrid Foundation to roll out the yellow carpet for Tampa Bay Fights Cancer Night. The Lightning will hold the event in conjunction with the NHL's Hockey Fights Cancer initiative.
As in years past, the theme of Tampa Bay Fights Cancer Night will help raise awareness in support of finding a cure for the disease, as well as spread the message that courage, strength and love can build bridges to a better tomorrow. This centerpiece event involves a matchup between the Lightning and the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, October 29 at 7 p.m. in which more than 2,000 individuals affected by the disease or helping to find a cure in Tampa Bay will be invited to enjoy the game. The annual event brings together a multitude of charitable organizations dedicated to dealing with the dreaded disease.
"On behalf of the Lightning and the entire Tampa Bay community, I would like to thank Steve Yerrid on his work in the fight against cancer," said Lightning CEO Tod Leiweke. "Tampa Bay Fights Cancer Night is an event we are more than happy to host for the 12th consecutive season and none of it would be possible without Steve's generosity. Hopefully everyone involved in the fight against this brutal disease can find some escape in the evening and we look forward to teaming up with Steve again for years to come."
"Together with the Lightning, we have established one of the key note annual events for the cancer community in the Bay Area," Yerrid added. "Everyone involved in this event is united in the fight against a brutal disease that touches us all and does not discriminate. In hosting this event, as we do every year, we hope to provide awareness to the battle that so many in our community are involved in and give them a break, if only for a night. I would like to again thank Jeff Vinik, Tod Leiweke and the rest of the Lightning for their dedication to this event that will mean so much to these truly special people.
"I am particularly pleased to have formed friendships with Jeff and Tod, and I am 100 percent certain these men care deeply about doing good in our community. I look forward to our future work together."
To date, more than 75,000 cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, families, doctors, nurses and volunteers have participated in Tampa Bay Fights Cancer Night activities. With the goal of bringing the cause to the forefront of the community's awareness, The Yerrid Foundation and the Lightning Foundation have teamed up to provide tickets and t-shirts to all participants, as well as food vouchers to all children from the organizations.
To kick off the evening, Lightning Owner and Chairman Jeff Vinik will accompany Yerrid to center ice for a ceremonial opening puck drop and moment of silence to be held in honor of those who have lost their battle with the disease. More than 40 special guests will also be able to sit on the bench and in the penalty box for the pregame skate and enjoy meet-and-greets with Lightning players, visits to the radio and television broadcast booths and other activities on the plaza.
Three individuals will also be designated as "Yerrid's Heroes" for the night. The designations of Yerrid's Heroes each year go to local champions in the "cancer community". Those represented will be an outstanding doctor or caregiver, a family member and a current patient fighting their personal battles with the disease. These incredible individuals will be recognized in-game and wear a "Yerrid's Heroes" jersey for the night.
Fans will also see the return of the familiar yellow Yerrid Foundation t-shirts, symbolizing hope among members of the community. Those who would like to help support the event will be able to purchase the special shirts during the game outside of sections 112 and 310. Kohl's Cares, the charity arm of Kohl's Department Stores, will be providing volunteers for t-shirt distribution, as well as to help escort participants throughout the arena. The organization is also donating $500 through the Lightning Foundation.
In addition, 11 local organizations will be provided with tickets for the Lightning-Jets game including Children's Cancer Center, Children's Dream Fund, All Children's Hospital, Faces of Courage, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Moffitt Cancer Center, Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, 1 Voice Foundation, Make-A-Wish Foundation and Tampa General Hospital.
In December of 1998, the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association announced a joint initiative, Hockey Fights Cancer, to honor those in the hockey community who have struggled, or continue to struggle with cancer. Hockey's All-Star Kids Program, an extension of Hockey Fights Cancer, was introduced in October 1999 to link the hockey community with the youngest victims of cancer. As a whole, the NHL and contributing partners have raised more than $7 million in support of local cancer research organizations across the league.