Hockey is family and a united community. This statement rings true all across the National Hockey League (NHL) but is most prevalent within the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.
From top to bottom, the Lightning go above and beyond the call of duty when needed most. They donate both time and money to those less fortunate, bringing a community together in dire times. The current Coronavirus pandemic is a perfect example. It’s altered everyone’s life, sending players and coaches scattering with no idea if they’ll meet again this season. Through it all, this team strives to show us the good in a nation and community that’s been dominated by darkness.
Players donate meals to the less fortunate
On March 25th, Lightning players announced a pledge to donate 500,000 meals to Feeding Tampa Bay. This will help struggling families put food on the table and generally make ends meet during the current crisis.
Unfortunately, players can only do so much. With much of the nation out of work, the need for food in a largely populated region like Tampa Bay is far greater than anyone can imagine. Because of this, fans are encouraged to help out if possible by visiting www.FeedingTampaBay.org.
Owner helps employees, community through crisis
Always one to lend a hand during his 10 years owning the Lightning, Jeff Vinik is continuing to show his selflessness during a trying time in this nation’s history.
First, he continued to pay employees scheduled to work games and events through the end of March. The Bolts owner then set to work finding other ways to assist employees facing hardships as a result of this health emergency.
He came up with VSG Cares, a grant aimed at providing assistance to employees who have immediate needs not being met because of an inability to work thanks to COVID-19 restrictions.
Never being satisfied with doing the minimum, Vinik and wife Penny recently donated $50,000 to the USF United Support Fund to help University of South Florida students facing unexpected challenges due to the outbreak.
That’s not the end of Vinik’s giving. He donated an estimated $300,000 to Metropolitan Ministries, $200,000 to fund PSA’s and $100,000 each to the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg. In total, that adds up to nearly one million dollars.
Local Network keeps fans engaged
While the things mentioned above are geared towards helping those with essential needs, the local television network is helping provide a diversion to anyone starving for some sense of normalcy. They’re doing this by showing reruns of previously aired games.
Fox Sports Sun, the cable provider of Lightning hockey and Rays baseball, spent the past three weeks or so airing Bolts wins from October 2019 to February 2020. This weekend, they will begin showing wins from the teams magical playoff run of 2004.
Surrounded by the grim realities of this uncertain time, it’s tough to find even the tiniest sliver of hope. That’s where the Lightning come in. Their willingness to help others during this difficult time in our nation is the positivity we need right now.
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