TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Phil Esposito as the 53rd Lightning Community Hero of the season during the first period of tonight's Game 2 Stanley Cup Final matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks. Esposito, who received a $100,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Wounded Warrior Project and youth and amateur hockey programming in the Tampa Bay region.
The Lightning legacy can be traced back to Esposito, one of the NHL's most prolific goal-scorers and NHL Hall of Famer, who 23 years ago believed that hockey could succeed in the city of Tampa. His efforts as co-founder helped Tampa win the vote of a permanent franchise by the National Hockey League's Board of Governors on December 20, 1991, which is the beginning era of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It is because of the seed Esposito planted that the Tampa Bay Lightning organization continues to embody and have a significant impact on the city of Tampa by bringing fans together, giving back to the community, stimulating economic activity in the Tampa Bay region, and soon undertaking a major urban development.