Vinik Gets His Man: Tod Leiweke Leaves Seattle Seahawks, Joins Lightning As CEO

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Guy Boucher Officially Named Lightning Head Coach

The Lightning officially named Guy Boucher their head coach on Thursday morning. Here's the team press release:

The Tampa Bay Lightning have agreed to terms with Guy Boucher (pronounced GEE boo-SHAY) today to become the seventh head coach in the organization's history, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today. Boucher joins the Lightning after coaching the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League to 52 wins and 115 points in the 2009-10 regular season.

"We are thrilled that Guy has elected to further his coaching career with the Tampa Bay Lightning," Yzerman said in making the announcement. "He is one of the best young coaches in the game today and I believe he is the perfect selection for our team as we look to create a winning environment and re-establish the Lightning in the National Hockey League."

Boucher, 38, becomes the youngest coach in the NHL after quickly building a track record of success in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and the AHL. In addition to winning the AHL’s North Division Championship for 2009-10, Boucher’s Bulldogs team allowed just 182 goals during the 80-game regular season, the lowest total in the league. Its 271 goals scored marked the league’s third highest total. He was honored with the AHL’s Louis A. R. Pieri Award as its Coach of the Year.

"I am flattered to have the opportunity to coach in the National Hockey League, especially for the Lightning," Boucher said upon accepting the position with the Lightning. "Steve Yzerman and the new ownership are turning things around in Tampa Bay and I am pleased they chose me to be a part of the process."

Boucher was named head coach of the Bulldogs for the 2009-10 season after leading the Drummondville Voltigeurs for three seasons. Boucher led Drummondville to QMJHL regular season and playoff championships and a berth in the Memorial Cup in 2008-09. That Voltigeurs team set franchise records with 54 wins and 112 points. He was also awarded the Paul Dumont Trophy as the QMJHL’s Personality of the Year for 2008-09.

Boucher also has extensive experience working for Hockey Canada, most recently serving as an assistant coach under Pat Quinn on the Gold Medal-winning team for the 2009 International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Junior Championship. He was an assistant coach with Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team program three times, also helping that team to the Gold Medal in 2008.

A native of Notre-Dame-du-Lac in Quebec, Canada, Boucher is graduate of Montreal’s McGill University where he starred with the Redmen from 1991-95. Boucher also has a unique resume for an NHL coach, with educational studies in four different fields – sports psychology, biosystems engineering, environmental biology and history.

For more, visit Raw Charge.


Report: Guy Boucher To Be Named Coach In Tampa Bay

Earlier in the day on Monday, it appeared that the Columbus Blue Jackets were prepared to name Guy Boucher their next head coach. But after Boucher, who carried the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs to a 52-17 record this past season as their bench boss, turned down the Jackets, it became clear that he would be headed south instead.

Yep, Boucher will be headed to Tampa, where it seems new general manager Steve Yzerman has made his first hire. Quebec-based, French-language online daily Rue Frontenac first broke details of the story. The site reports that Boucher is expected to bring his entire coaching staff with him from Hamilton, where he just finished up his first year as a head coach in the professional ranks.

Our Lightning blog, Raw Charge, has more reaction.

As the quote suggests, Boucher had turned down the Columbus Blue Jacket earlier in the day.  This had been after reports surfaced that Boucher had been offered the job on Friday (6-05).    There had been speculation -- wild at that on Twitter -- that Steve Yzerman had grabbed his ear.  

And the most common thread of thought that is being pointed out right now (via twitter chatter) is looking at team captain Vincent Lecavalier and wondering if Boucher can light his fire?

It's expected that the team will finalize the hiring of Boucher on Tuesday.


Steve Yzerman To Be Named Lightning GM At Tuesday Press Conference

The Tampa Bay Lightning have called a news conference at 3 PM Eastern on Tuesday, where they will announce that hockey legend Steve Yzerman has been named the team's sixth general manager. The news comes via the AP.

Yzerman has never been a general manager in the NHL before, but he has held a position in the front office of the Detroit Red Wings and was in charge of putting together Canada's 2010 gold medal Olympic team.

Our Lightning blog, Raw Charge, which has been all over this story since things hit the fan months ago with the firings of former GM Brian Lawton and former coach Rick Tocchet, looks at the long road that new owner Jeff Vinik has taken to reach today.

Steve Yzerman, Detroit Red Wings legend, will become the Tampa Bay Lightning's sixth general manager this afternoon, replacing dismissed GM Brian Lawton and following in the footsteps of former GM's Jay Feaster, Rick Dudley, Jacques Demers and Phil Esposito.

We've been waiting, waiting, waiting...  And early this morning a news release from the Lightning announced the scheduling of a press conference for this morning.  Various reports have also come out, and Jeff Vinik's wish silence can no longer be kept in check.

Of course, at this point, it's a  hell of a marketing tool, as the hriing is not only a huge name -- but there is huge hype around someone finally filling the position.

For more on the news as it develops, be sure to stick with Raw Charge.


Jeff Vinik Announced As New Owner Of Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that Jeff Vinik has officially purchased the club.

Via a team press release:

Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment LLC, which is owned by Jeff Vinik and a related family entity, has executed an agreement to purchase the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League from its current owners, the club announced today. The sale includes the Lightning hockey team, the company which operates the St. Pete Times Forum, and two parcels of adjacent land. Vinik will be the Chairman and sole person controlling Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment. The ownership transfer of the Lightning is subject to approval by the National Hockey League Board of Governors.

"Buying the Lightning and joining the Tampa Bay community is a dream come true," Vinik said. "I’ve been an avid hockey fan my whole life and I pledge to our fans that I will work my hardest to build the Lightning into a world class organization both on and off the ice. I hope to bring a high level of excitement and intensity back to Lightning hockey, with a goal of having the team consistently compete for the Stanley Cup. I have a passion for the game and will do my best to restore a winning culture at the St. Pete Times Forum that all of our fans and partners can be proud of."


Report: Sale Of Lightning Official To Vinik

RDS is reporting that the sale of the Tampa Bay Lightning has become official. Jeff Vinik has agreed to buy the team from Oren Koules and Len Barrie for $150 million which is less than what was being reported and far less than the $206 million that they initially bought the team for.

Sale Of Tampa Bay Lightning Seems Close

After a carousel of horrors where Tampa Bay Lightning co-owners Len Barrie and Oren Koules went back and forth trying to buy one another out ultimately turned into nothing, it appears the ownership group is getting ready to complete the sale of the team to Boston-based hedgefund manager Jeff Vinik.

From Damian Cristofero of the St. Pete Times:

Meetings that went through Monday and into Tuesday morning at the NHL offices in New York apparently have brought Boston hedgefund manager Jeff Vinik much closer to buying the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Details are sketchy, and it was unclear how much more work has to be done. But Lightning co-owner Oren Koules apparently attended the meetings and at least representatives for co-owner Len Barrie and Vinik.

The deal would include the team, the St. Pete Times Forum lease and 5-1/2 acres around the arena.

Vinik is also a minority owner of the Boston Red Sox.

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