For the 11th consecutive year, 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 a very special event: Tampa Bay Fights Cancer Night.
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 in the fight against cancer. This centerpiece event involves a matchup between the Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, December 4 at 7:30 p.m. in which more than 4,000 individuals tied to the cancer community of Tampa Bay will be invited to enjoy the game at the St. Pete Times Forum. The annual event brings together a multitude of charitable organizations dedicated to dealing with the dreaded disease.
“We salute Steve Yerrid on his work in the fight against cancer and we are pleased to partner with him as he looks to create a great game-night experience for those involved with the disease,” said Jeff Vinik, Chairman and Governor of the Tampa Bay Lightning. “Moving forward, the Lightning franchise looks to be a leader in the NHL philanthropically, both in terms of financial grants and the community work we perform in Tampa Bay. We’ll appreciate the opportunity to continue working with Steve on this great cause.”
“We have created a tremendous event that each year brings out the best in all of us,” Yerrid added. “Everyone involved is united in our effort to fight cancer and promote awareness that this battle involves all of us, and that together, we can make a difference in the lives of some very 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 32,000 cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, families, doctors, nurses and volunteers have been the guests in the 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, Vinik will accompany Yerrid to center ice for a ceremonial opening puck drop and a moment of silence will 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. In addition, several lucky guests will be chosen to kick off the game with the traditional call, “Let’s Play Hockey.”
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 shirts during the game outside of sections 112, 204 and 312 of the arena.
In addition, 11 local organizations have been sponsored for the Lightning-Avalanche game on December 4 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.