Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Lightning

Lightning makes appearances throughout the area with strikes of kindness

Lightning players, coaches, alumni and staff “striking” 40 Tampa Bay sites with giveaways and charitable contributions.
Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn works the Dunkin drive through on Kennedy Boulevard as part of the Lightning Strikes of Kindness promotion on Tuesday in Tampa. The NHL gave the Lightning $100,000 for winning the Presidents Trophy. The Lightning are giving that and much more away in a day-long multi-site giveaway involving players, coaches and executives. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn works the Dunkin drive through on Kennedy Boulevard as part of the Lightning Strikes of Kindness promotion on Tuesday in Tampa. The NHL gave the Lightning $100,000 for winning the Presidents Trophy. The Lightning are giving that and much more away in a day-long multi-site giveaway involving players, coaches and executives. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Sep. 10, 2019
Updated Sep. 13, 2019

TAMPA — A Dunkin’ run isn’t a standard part of Melissa Wiebeck’s morning but she made an exception on Tuesday.

She and her 3-year-old Alexander popped into Dunkin’ to grab him a donut and to meet a couple of Lightning players.

Ryan McDonagh and Braydon Coburn worked the Dunkin’ counter and drive through for an hour Tuesday morning, spending $750 to cover customers’ orders. That was just one of the appearances the Lightning made as part of their “Strikes of Kindness Day.”

The team (players, coaches, staff, alumni, broadcasters and executives) made 40 stops around the area, going as far as Orlando. They volunteered, interacted with fans, and made donations.

SPORTS DAY TAMPA PODCAST: Is Bruce Arians making a valid point, an excuse or both?

All told, the team gave away $100,000 in charitable donations and also bought more than $2,000 worth of food for fans to deliver to teachers and first responders around the area. That doesn’t account for swag bags and ticket giveaways.

The NHL gave the Lightning $100,000 as winners of the Presidents’ Trophy (given to the best regular-season team). Jeff Vinik, who is part a group of local investors who in 2017 loaned $12 million to the Times Publishing Co., didn’t know the Trophy came with money. When they found out, he and CEO Steve Griggs decided to share it with the community.

“It’s just a big part of our DNA to get our employees out there in the field, engage and work with some of these organizations,” Vinik said, during an appearance at Feeding Tampa Bay. “So immediately, we knew we wanted to make this an important day.”

They could have just written a check, but the Lightning wanted to do more. They added volunteer work, fan giveaways and player appearances for random strikes of kindness.

One Dunkin’ customer was right on message. McDonagh pointed out that on Dunkin’ customer’s shirt was right on message. “A little kindness can change everything,” read 17-month-old Riley Small’s pink tee.

Small’s dad Lance works nearby Dunkin’ and he wasn’t expecting to find Lightning players when he dropped in for his coffee. Nor was Jon Fiddelke when he pulled up to the drive through with his Lightning-branded credit card in hand.

MORE SPORTS: High school football player who died wanted to be part of Middleton’s legacy

“Aw man, look,” he called to his 3-year-old twins Olivia and Jacob, upon seeing McDonagh in the window. He repeated how great this was and rolled down the back window for his twins to wave to McDonagh. When asked, though, Olivia said her favorite players are Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov.

Milan Kratz, another 3-year-old, shyly took her bag of munchkins from Coburn, but reached up to shake his hand when her father Tim prodded.

The Strikes of Kindness initiative involved the entire organization. All of the Lightning’s players and coaches made appearances. Alumni like Mathieu Garon, Dave Andreychuk, Adam Hall, Ruslan Fedotenko made stops. Griggs and Phil Esposito visited the mayors of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater with customized jerseys. Broadcasters Rick Peckham, Paul Kennedy and Greg Linelli were in on the effort.

The team spread the $100,000 between Goodwill, Feeding Tampa Bay, Humane Society, Metropolitan Ministries, Southeastern Guide Dogs and Junior Achievement – Finance Park. They also had about 100 staff members volunteering at those sites.

The Lightning made stops at Dunkin’, Chick-Fil-A and Tropical Smoothie to treat fans. They brought breakfast to first responders and 100 smoothies to teachers at Rampello Elementary School in Tampa.

Victor Hedman and Jon Cooper delivered swag bags to patients at Tampa General Hospital. Tyler Johnson and Mathieu Joseph did the same at MacDill Air Force Base.

Contact Diana C. Nearhos at dnearhos@tampabay.com. Follow @dianacnearhos.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

  1. The Lightning signed defenseman Zach Bogosian, whose contract was terminated by Buffalo earlier this week.
  2. Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin poses with the puck commemorating his 700th career NHL goal that he scored against the New Jersey Devils in the third period at Prudential Center on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Newark, New Jersey.
  3. Carolina Hurricanes right wing Nino Niederreiter (21) and center Martin Necas (88) speak to Hurricanes emergency goalie David Ayres as he takes the ice against the Toronto Maple Leafs during second-period NHL hockey game action in Toronto, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
  4. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) gives up a goal to Arizona Coyotes' Derek Stepan as Lightning defenseman Luke Schenn (2) slides along the ice and Coyotes right wing Conor Garland (83) looks at the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz.
  5. Fans gather in Thunder Alley at Amalie Arena before the start of the 2019-2020 NHL season home opener between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers on Thursday, October 3, 2019, in Tampa.
  6. Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cedric Paquette shoots as Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury defends during the third period Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Las Vegas. The Golden Knights won 5-3.
  7. Columbus left wing Artemi Panarin (9) and Columbus Blue Jackets center Matt Duchene (95) celebrate in front of the Lightning bench during the Blue Jackets' first-round victory over Tampa Bay in the first round of the 2019 NHL Playoffs. The four-game sweep was Columbus' payoff for a few deals at the trade deadline for players with expiring contracts.
  8. Vegas Golden Knights center Paul Stastny (26) scores against Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Las Vegas.
  9. The Lightning traded Danick Martel to the Panthers for Anthony Greco.
  10. Trading Martin St. Louis was hard, but the Lightning's return turned out to be even better than they thought at the time.
  11. Colorado Avalanche left wing J.T. Compher, left, flies into Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney while pursuing the puck in the third period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, in Denver. The Lightning won 4-3 in overtime.
  12. Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, right, drives past Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon to score the winning goal in overtime of an NHL hockey game Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, in Denver. The Lightning won 4-3.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement