Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Lightning

Lightning celebrates Presidents’ Trophy in last regular season matchup

Tampa Bay clinched its first Presidents’ Trophy on March 18 with a win over Arizona at home.
DIRK SHADD   |   Times  
Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) is presented the 2019 PresidentsÕ Trophy to he and his team by NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, as he leagueÕs winningest regular season team, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Saturday, March 30, 2019.
DIRK SHADD | Times Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) is presented the 2019 PresidentsÕ Trophy to he and his team by NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, as he leagueÕs winningest regular season team, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Saturday, March 30, 2019.
Published Mar. 30, 2019
Updated Mar. 31, 2019

TAMPA – Lightning fans couldn’t contain themselves as the Presidents’ Trophy was walked out to center ice at Amalie Arena and placed on a small round table to the right of the Lightning’s bench before Saturday’s game against the Capitals.

The claps started early and continued to get louder as deputy commissioner Bill Daly presented the trophy to captain Steven Stamkos.

Stamkos shook hands with Daly hand and placed his left hand on the right side of the trophy, then smiled as he carried it toward the bench.

Stamkos shocked many as he touched the trophy. Similar to the superstition surrounding the trophies awarded to the conference final winners, many decline to touch it, believing the real prize — the Stanley Cup — is yet to be won.

The Presidents’ Trophy, given to the team with the league’s best regular-season record, isn’t usually presented like it was to the Lightning. As Tampa Bay closed in on clinching it, the NHL reached out asking if it wanted a trophy presentation.

Coach Jon Cooper, general manager Julian BriseBois and team adviser Steve Yzerman decided that the regular season was worth a celebration.

Cooper previously said the Lightning should be proud of winning the Presidents’ Trophy, calling it a reward to the whole organization from the coaches to the fans.

Related: Photos: Lightning takes on Capitals

In deciding between having the ceremony before Monday’s game against the Bruins or Saturday’s game, the Lightning thought it would be appropriate to share the trophy with the home crowd as a surprise on Fan Appreciation Night.

Fans had a chance to get up close and personal with the trophy on the arena’s suite level and the main concourse during the game.

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.