Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for the blessings that you have in your life. For me, one of those blessings is the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. So we thought today would be a good day to highlight just some of the things that we’re thankful for when it comes to the Lightning.
We’re thankful for an amazing owner, an owner that has come in to this organization and this city and taken an impassioned position on supporting us. Vinik is an owner that has devoted himself to developing a winning culture and a winning organization, an owner that is reshaping the downtown area that surrounds the Lightning, an owner that has pledged over $10 million to charity. Vinik is an owner that is easy to care about and be excited about.
We’re thankful that the Detroit Red Wings didn’t think Yzerman could take over as their general manager. We’re thankful that they trained him and prepared him to turn an organization whose farm system was once the laughing stock of the league into one of the best. We’re thankful for a GM that has turned the organization into one that other teams now seek to imitate. We’re thankful for the man know by many as the Captain, for turning his passion for the game into a successful hockey team on the ice. We’re thankful for his negotiating skills and his convictions to do things the right way. We’ll be even more thankful when he gets his name engraved on the Cup another time or two (or five).
Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman
We’re thankful that we have not one, but two franchise players that love this town, and that have devoted the futures of their careers to this team and to it’s success. They are a pair of players that took a lower salary so that they could stay in Tampa and play with teammates that they care so much about. We’re thankful for their loyalty and their play on the ice. We’re thankful that they are role models that can be looked up to by young kids getting into the game of hockey. We’re just thankful to have these two here to cheer for for the next eight years.
Even though they don’t always play together any more, we’re thankful for the skill, energy and comradeship that a Russian, a Czech, and a short, little American have built together. We’re thankful that their love of the game and playing together is evident when they are on the ice. We’re thankful that they’re dedicated to doing their all to win a Stanley Cup for Tampa Bay.
We’re thankful for a Swede that always has a smile on his face, a man that stops to sign autographs and meet fans every chance he has. Stralman is a fantastic father and person, and we’re thankful that Yzerman saw his game for what it was and went after him aggressively. We’re thankful for an underrated defenseman that is so vital to our team’s success.
Alex Killorn and Andrej Sustr
We’re thankful for the talented goofballs that make hockey fun. We’re thankful for players that photobomb each other in video interviews after games (Looking at you, Vladdy). We’re thankful for a group of guys that are so obviously really good friends. We’re thankful for players that take the time to sign autographs and make jokes while taking pictures with fans. We’re thankful for players with fun personalities.
We’re thankful for the grinders. All of them. We’re thankful that they come to the rink with energy every game. We’re thankful that they never quit. We’re thankful that they stand up for their teammates when it’s necessary. We’re thankful that we will likely never have to get into a fist fight that we would surely lose without them.
The Sled Team
We're grateful that the Tampa Bay Lightning organization focuses on bringing hockey to everyone, and has sponsored and funded the Lightning Sled Hockey team in their practices and competitions. We're grateful for the championship the team won in April 2016 at the Disabled Hockey Festival, the team's first. We're grateful that the team had the opportunity to compete at the USA Hockey Sled Classic in Nashville, where they made it to the semifinal round before being bounced from the tournament by the Tier V winners, the Carolina Hurricanes. We're grateful to the Tampa Bay Lightning Sled Hockey team for representing us so well in the field of adaptive sports.
(Personally from Geo) The Fans and all the friends I’ve made at Amalie Arena
Maybe most of all, I’m thankful for all of the friends I’ve made because of the Tampa Bay Lightning. I started going to games in 2013-14. It’s a struggle sometimes to go to games because I live an hour away from the arena. But it’s been worth it — so worth it. I’ve made friends from all over the area. I’ve made friends in other states and even over the border into Canada. I’ve made friends with people in England and Sweden and Russia. Even more than the possibility of winning a Cup, this is the thing I will be most thankful for when it comes to the Tampa Bay Lightning.