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Volume 24 No. 112
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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).