Tampa Bay Lightning Team Formation
After being awarded the franchise, the team's management brought in star power before they had any players. Phil Esposito installed himself as president and general manager, while Tony became chief scout. Terry Crisp, who played for the Philadelphia Flyers when they won two Stanley Cups in the mid-1970s, and coached the Calgary Flames to a Cup in 1989, was tapped as the first head coach. The team was named the Lightning, after Tampa's status as the "Lightning Capital of North America."
Art Williams Ownership
Finally, in 1998, Kokusai Green found a buyer. Although Detroit Pistons owner William Davidson was thought to be the frontrunner, the buyer turned out to be insurance tycoon and motivational speaker Art Williams, who previously owned the Birmingham Barracudas of the Canadian Football League. Williams walked into a difficult financial situation; the team was $102 million in debt at the time the sale closed. Like the Japanese, Williams knew very little about hockey. However, he was very visible and outspoken, and immediately pumped an additional $6 million into the team's payroll to turn it around. He also cleared most of the massive debt left over from the Kokusai Green era. After taking control, Williams publicly assured the Espositos that their jobs were safe, only to fire them two games into the 1998 - 1999 season. He then gave Demers complete control of hockey operations as both coach and general manager. Despite the clouds still hovering over the franchise, the Lightning drafted Vincent Lecavalier in 1998, a player who would be a cornerstone of the team for years to come.
Stanley Cup Winners
The 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs for the National Hockey League began on April 7, 2004, following the 2003 - 2004 regular season. The playoffs ended with the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the Stanley Cup with a seven game series win over the Calgary Flames on June 7. It was Tampa Bay's first Stanley Cup victory. It was the Flames' third final appearance, as they came this far in 1986 and 1989, winning the latter. The sixteen qualified teams, eight from each conference, played best-of-seven games for conference quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. The winner of each conference proceeded to the Stanley Cup Finals. The format was identical to the one introduced for the 1999 playoffs. Don Cherry called this the greatest playoffs he has seen in 20 years.
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|Team Information||Team History|
2014 - present
Stanley Cups: 1
|*Red is this team's history|