SBD/April 15, 2014/People and Pop Culture

Lightning's Jeff Vinik Profiled As "Most Popular Sports Owner" In Tampa

Lightning Owner JEFF VINIK is "one of the most popular sports owners in Tampa," according to a profile by Gary Shelton of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. Vinik "cares, deeply and passionately." He "watches, intensely and without blinking." It is a "good time to be Vinik." A little more than four years into his ownership, the Lightning have become a "successful business." The franchise "seems to have bonded with the community." Vinik has "perfected the art of owning a franchise," as he is at "almost every home game, and some road games." Yet he "visited the locker room exactly one time this year, on the night the team made the playoffs." Shelton: "Yes, everyone knows he cares. No one has seen his fingerprints though." Vinik said, "I don't bug the players. I don't go in the locker rooms. Hardly ever. The players have a job to do. They don't need the owner around. I let it be known that I care deeply about winning and that I want to win a Stanley Cup. I think they understand that." He added, "Our goal is to be a world class organization on the ice and off. We've made excellent progress, but we still have a way to go." Shelton writes, "It's a good time to be Vinik. It's a good time to pull for the Lightning" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 4/15).
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