One of our own has fallen.
Wayne Fleming was one of our own. The use of "our" is not to depict Wayne as a possession of the Tampa Bay Lightning, but as a member with standing of the sport of hockey. Fleming was part of the National Hockey League and part of the sport of Ice Hockey the world over as both a player and a coach in his 42 years tied to the game. Along with stints as an assistant with the New York Islanders, Phoenix Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers, Calgary Flames and Tampa Bay Lightning, Fleming spent time as a head coach in the Swedish Elite League and coaching in Russia
He was 62. His stint with the Lightning was brief but memorable - as part of the thrilling roller-coaster ride of the 2010-11 Lightning season. Mr. Fleming was diagnosed that spring with brain cancer. And though he became waylaid and unable to participate in person with his coaching duties, Mr. Fleming would be in contact with Guy Boucher and his assistants by phone and by text message to give input on what was needed during the 2011 NHL Eastern Conference playoffs.
While Mr. Fleming's passing leads the NHL and the hockey world to lament the loss of a well-traveled friend and steward of this game, it would be far kinder to his memory that we celebrate him and his legacy.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Fleming's family and friends.