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Vincent Lecavalier back on ice with Lightning alumni

36-year-old will play against Bruins in charity game

by Corey Long / Correspondent

TAMPA -- When Dave Andreychuk saw Vincent Lecavalier skating around during Tampa Bay Lightning alumni practice Thursday, he couldn't help but smile thinking about the potential of his team.

"The quicker we can get a younger guy into the alumni lineup, it's better for us," Andreychuk said of Lecavalier, who won't turn 37 until April 21. "I did ask him why he retired, because I told him that he could still play and if he didn't watch out, somebody was going to want to sign him."

Lecavalier, who retired in June after 17 NHL seasons, is the newest addition to the Lightning alumni team that will play the Boston Bruins alumni Saturday at Amalie Arena.

He and Andreychuk played together on the 2004 Lightning who won the Stanley Cup.

Lecavalier, the No. 1 pick in the 1998 NHL Draft, had 421 goals and 528 assists (949 points) in 1,212 games with the Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers and Los Angeles Kings. He holds the Lightning record with 383 goals.

Boston's alumni team includes Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque. The game, part of the third annual Hockey Day in Tampa Bay, starts at 4:30 p.m. with all of the proceeds going to charity.

Despite Andreychuk's insistence that Lecavalier could still play in the NHL, it appears he is happy in retirement and spending his days with his wife Caroline and their children Victoria, Gabriel and Amelia.

"I am good where I am right now," Lecavalier said. "I'm happy to be home and spend time with my family. I'm not sure what I want to do in the future, but I don't want to really think about it too much right now."

Lecavalier said his daughters have tennis and gymnastics, and his son plays baseball and is starting to learn how to play hockey. The ability for them to participate in sports year-round was one of the reasons Lecavalier returned to Florida after retiring from the Kings after the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"Obviously the weather is unbelievable here," Lecavalier said. "And the kids can enjoy being active and be outside instead of sitting in front of the TV. We have a lot of friends here, and it's a great city that also has a bit of a smaller-town feel."

Lecavalier said he's still thinking about what he'll be doing in his life after hockey, planning some recreational travel in the meantime. He has always been involved in community and charitable organizations around Tampa and said he will continue to help the Lightning in that area when he's asked.

"I wanted to give myself a year to rest and not commit to too much," Lecavalier said. "Right now everything is perfect. We'll see what happens in the future."

When Andreychuk retired after the 2004 season he tried a little bit of everything, from television and radio broadcasting to being a restaurant owner. These days, he is the vice president of community and corporate affairs for the Lightning and an analyst for FOX Sports Sun.

"I'm probably working harder than I ever did on the ice," Andreychuk, 53, said. "My hours are longer, that's for sure."

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