New Tampa Bay Lightning Owner Jeff Vinik has consistently mentioned his desire to build a "World Class" organization in Tampa. His actions suggest loudly, that he's not kidding. For the past 2 seasons, Lightning news has more often than not been more appropriate for a Supermarket Rag than the Hockey News. Vinik has successfully reversed those days in Tampa Bay in a big way.
His first move, and very appropriate was the firing of GM Brian Lawton and Head Coach Rick Tocchet. He followed that up by hiring the best GM candidate available in Steve Yzerman. Giving Yzerman full control over all aspects of the hockey operation, lead to Steve hiring Guy Boucher, whom I consider the best available candidate as the new Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Vinik has followed through with many other fan friendly events, some of which were started by previous ownership goups but have been continued and improved. There's a draft party at the Channelside Club in conjunction with a Tampa Bay Storm Arena Football League game. The $25.00 admission price includes a Bolts hat, tickets to the Storm game, food, beer, wine and soda and many drawings and giveaways. The Fantasy Camp is being held again. The latest news and probably the best for the players is the New Rink System and new Zamboni's! This will eliminate the dead spots in the boards, reduce the sightline obstruction by 25% and create a better, harder ice surface that our speedy players can take advantage of. Here's a quote from Martin St. Louis and the full article is linked below.
“We appreciate Mr. Vinik for taking our opinions into consideration before moving forward with his alterations to the ice and rink system,” said Martin St. Louis. “I know things have been strained in the past and it will be good to be able to play the game in the very best environment possible.”
Don in St. Pete