January was clearly a busy month for the Tampa Bay Lightning as the NHL and NHLPA came to an agreement and NHL hockey started again for the 30 franchises that had been primarily dormant during what is usually a busy fall schedule. The Lightning, however, have been busy with community efforts and those didn’t slow down just because the on-ice product was back.
The Lightning added four new community heroes in the month of January bringing the grand total this season to 18.
John Sykes and the Sykes family were honored during the game against the Washington Capitals. They will use their donation for the Police Athletic League. John and his family have been working to better the Tampa Bay community for over 20 years. They have started a scholarship fund for deserving youth as well as becoming involved with honoring fallen law enforcement officers.
During the Lightning’s game with the Ottawa Senators, Ashley Rhodes Courter received her Community Hero award and will donate her money to the Heart Gallery of Pinellas and Pasco and Eckerd Youth Alternatives. Adopted at an advanced age, Courter remained positive and chose to excel academically. Now a foster parent herself, she wants to change the future of foster children in the United States.
Kathy Champion, honored during the game against the Philadelphia Flyers, is donating her check to Southeastern Guide Dogs. Wounded while serving in Iraq, Kathy has made an amazing effort to help other wounded veterans overcome their disabilities. Her guide dog, Angel, has helped her run a half-marathon, play golf, and live life on her terms.
Anna Rodriguez was honored during the game against division rivals the Florida Panthers. Since 2005, Anna has fought against human trafficking both in the United States and abroad. She has helped to rescue victims as well as bring those responsible to justice. Her donation will go to the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking, the Joshua House and Crisis Center and the Family Justice Center.
Paying it Forward for the Holidays
Once again, Lightning owner Jeff Vinik is helping to enrich the lives of those around him. Vinik distributed $75 in cash to each member of the Tampa Bay Lightning organization with the instructions being, pay it forward and help those in need.
Charities like the Ronald McDonald House, the March of Dimes, Toys for Tots, and Big Cat Rescue all benefited from the charity of the Mr. Vinik and the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.
Season Ticket Holders Benefit From Generosity As Well
As we’ve clearly demonstrated, Jeff Vinik and the Tampa Bay Lightning organization are very committed to the Tampa Bay area and making sure the team is connected and engaged. That commitment also extends to the season ticket holders for the Lightning. On January 18, before the season kicked off, the Lightning hosted a Free Lunch Friday from 11 – 1 to coincide with their last open practice before kicking off the 2013 regular season. There were also discounts on Lightning merchandise as well as photo ops with the Lightning Girls and ThunderBug.
This comes in addition to the 200 special season tickets offered for $200. In order to help welcome back Lightning fans, the organization ran this special rate in January in addition to the multiple other season ticket packages that they already offer.