TAMPA, Florida – Tampa Bay Lightning team captain Steven Stamkos was honored to take the greatest trophy of any sport – the Stanley Cup – from an airplane to a city that has waited so long to arrive.
The team arrived at Tampa International Airport Tuesday afternoon after beating the Dallas Stars 2-0 in their sixth game on Monday to win the Stanley Cup.
“They do all the heavy lifting,” said head coach Jon Cooper. “I couldn’t be more proud of the boys with all the heartbreak we’ve been through for the past 5-6 years.”
From heartbreak to reunited hearts.
The team was greeted by team owner Jeff Vinik and their biggest fans, their families who haven’t seen them in two months.
The Bolts entered the NHL playoff bubble in July.
It’s been 65 days since the Blake Coleman Lightning Center lifted their baby girl. Sixty-five days since defense attorney Zach Bogosian gave his kids a big wet kiss, and it’s been 12 years since Stamkos shared that moment bringing his son the Stanley Cup.
“I have to believe that they are excited to see their families at this point,” said Vinik. “65 days in this bubble are a real challenge for everyone involved.”
“So far from the people you want to share it with, everyone here, for the police, the fire department, the fans,” said Cooper. “We just felt the energy of everyone without being able to spend time with them.”
The trophy ultimately validates her blood, sweat, and tears. For Vinik, he hopes that this moment means even more for the community.
“I hope we give them a little joy,” said Vinik. “I hope we can make you feel a little better. I hope we lift your spirits. “
When lifting the cup.