As it turns out, Jeff Vinik was right. The Tampa Bay Lightning owner, the keynote speaker at the St. Petersburg Bar Foundation's annual "Heroes Among Us" awards dinner, said he thought the National Hockey League lockout was 99 percent away from ending. And lo and behold, the league made the announcement the next day.
To be fair, Vinik said he has been optimistic since the outset, and he said he has high aspirations for the Lightning "to compete at the highest levels year in, year out, … including bringing the Stanley Cup back to Tampa Bay.
"I am very bullish on Florida overall and Tampa Bay in particular," said Vinik, who bought the team in 2010 and moved to Tampa last year. He described the area as "welcoming and warm. I haven't experienced this anyplace else."
The dinner event, held in the Club at Treasure Island, was to honor lawyers Bob Byelick, Gail Moulds and Brittany Maxey.
In addition to his law practice, Byelick has been active in numerous civic efforts, including the Kiwanis Club of St. Petersburg, Suncoasters, PARC and the Clutch Hitters of Tampa Bay. Moulds, a former teacher, has made multiple mission trips abroad through the Pinellas Community Church, where she is a member.
Maxey, recipient of the "Rising Star" award, is active in CASA, or Community Action Stops Abuse, the Achievement Rewards for College Scientist Foundation and the Florida Association of Women Lawyers.
Former St. Petersburg Mayor and 2006 "Heroes" recipient Bob Ulrich was master of ceremonies.
The event committee included co-chairmen Erin Barnett and Dion Hancock, Nancy Biesinger, David Blum, Beth Jenkins Casey, Michael Faehner, Gregory Hoag, Beth Horner, Jason Moyer, Miguel Roura, Judy Stanton, retired Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Irene Sullivan and Kristy Tucker.
Queen's Court grants
The Queen's Court, which raises money for charities and civic organizations through its annual Queen of Hearts Ball, is accepting applications for Pinellas County organizations to receive grants from the 2014 event. Call (727) 458-5686. The deadline is March 1.