Lightning Round: The Lightning hosted their inaugural Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Martin St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier and Phil Esposito are the first-ever inductees

On Thursday, the Tampa Bay Lightning started the Lightning Alumni Weekend, a series of events dedicated to the Lightning’s recently introduced Hall of Fame. The Alumni Weekend kicked off on Thursday with the Reunion Classic at Topgolf Tampa, a fundraising event benefiting the Lightning Alumni Association, which gave Lightning fans an opportunity to compete alongside some Bolts from the past.

The main event of the whole weekend was the Lightning’s inaugural Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, which took place yesterday at Amalie Arena. The first ever members of the organization's Hall of Fame became Martin St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier, the only players in the Lightning history whose numbers were retired, and the Lightning founder, Phil Esposito. Both St. Louis and Lecavalier were automatic inductees, while the name of Esposito were introduced later. About 35 Lightning alumni, alongside with current players like Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Alex Killorn and 1,500 fans attended the ceremony at Amalie Arena last night.

The first members of the Lightning Hall of Fame were presented with a special Lightning-blue jackets with their names engraved on the inside and a patch with the team’s logo. Alongside the jackets were the awards, which were made by local glass sculptor Marlene Rose. The Lightning will also host a special pre-game ceremony tonight to unveil the Hall of Fame area at Amalie Arena.

Martin St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier, both of whom now represent the Montreal Canadiens organization: St. Louis as the team’s head coach and Lecavalier as the special advisor to hockey operations for the Montreal Canadiens, were very flattered to be inducted on the same night as Phil Esposito [Tampa Bay Times]

“It means everything,” Lecavalier said of Esposito’s induction. “He brought the team here. It’s not easy. You’re thinking back in the early ’90s, it’s a market that probably won’t work. But Phil had that vision that it could work. And to see how it is today, it’s pretty amazing because without Phil, there’s no hockey team here.”

Said St. Louis: “For me, I’m flattered going into this club, but the fact that I’m going in with Phil, who probably had the most impact on why we’re here, is pretty special.”

The Lightning also revealed a tribute video to Lecavalier and St. Louis, narrated by the Lightning captain Steven Stamkos.

A story about a partnership between Martin St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier, who defined the franchise and became its first-ever Hall of Fame inductees [The Athletic]

“Vinny could leave the rink and turn it off, he was very good at that. Good or bad, when he left the rink, it was his time,” Richards said. “Marty came to the rink like a coach and went home like a coach. So I think it was probably good for both of them, yin and yang a little bit. I think it calmed Marty down a little bit, and when Vinny was playing good with Marty, I think Marty kind of dragged him into a little bit more excitement about the preparation for the game and how we can get better and how we can do this together.

The Syracuse Crunch suffered a 5-2 loss to the Bridgeport Islanders last night. Rudy Balcers and Trevor Carrick scored for the team, while Max Lagace stopped 34-of-38 shots in this game.

The Orlando Solar Bears also were defeated by the Idaho Steelheads on Friday night.

Hockey News

Four games were played last night in the NHL:

The Columbus Blue Jackets were officially eliminated from the playoff contention.

The Buffalo Sabres signed goaltender Devon Levi to a three-year deal.