TAMPA BAY - William Davidson, former Stanley Cup-winning owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, passed away last evening at his home in Bloomfield Hills, MI. He was 86. Davidson purchased the Lightning in the spring of 1999 from Art Williams. He owned the team for nine years, before selling the franchise and the leasehold rights to the St. Pete Times Forum to Oren Koules, Len Barrie and their partners in July, 2008.
“Mr. Davidson was, without question, one of the greatest owners in the history of sports,” said owner and Governor Oren Koules on behalf of the Tampa Bay Lightning. “He was revered by owners in both the NBA and the NHL and his legacy in Tampa will be that he brought stability and direction to the franchise, culminating with the great Stanley Cup win in 2004. We will always be grateful to him for giving us the opportunity to own the Lightning and we offer his family our deepest condolences.”
Davidson's Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2004 and he became the only owner in sports history to win the NBA Championship (Detroit Pistons) and the Stanley Cup in the same season. In fact, his Detroit Shock held the WNBA championship at the same time, making him a three-sport champion. Davidson was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.