TAMPA — Anne Schleper had a permanent smile Monday as she joined the Lightning for its morning skate.
Schleper, 24, an Olympic silver medalist with the U.S. women, participated in drills with Lightning defensemen, and joined captain Steven Stamkos at center ice to lead the team in stretching. And when she got back to the Lightning locker room, she had her own nameplate, No. 15.
"It's pretty special," Schleper said. "I was really trying to learn from them."
Stamkos was impressed with Schleper, a St. Cloud, Minn. native who lives in Tampa.
"She made some nice crisp passes out there. I was kind of joking she was passing the puck harder than some of the D on our team."
Coach Jon Cooper lauded Schleper's appearance, part of the International Ice Hockey Federation's World Girls Ice Hockey Weekend, hoping it helps grow the game.
"I've got twin daughters, and if they look at this and are like, "You know what, I'd love to play hockey,' then it's paying off for us," Cooper said.
Joe Smith, Times staff writer