Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos
Tampa, Florida -- Even though the Tampa Bay Lightning aren't playing hockey, the team is still sticking with an incredibly important effort to give back to our community.
When you think they may be all about saving money -- they're literally giving it away. And they say there's no stopping them.
Starting last year, the Lightning began honoring a "Community Hero" at each home game.
It's someone who's helping in our community, a lot like the people who we spotlight each evening in our Making a Difference series on 10 News.
Lightning Community Heroes would get to watch the game from a luxury box and -- if that's not sweet enough -- they'd also get a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation to support their work.
This year, the NHL lockout means things are different. Until the NHL and its players union come up with a new contract, there are no home games.
But -- get this -- the Lightning are still handing out those checks.
They're giving away $50,000 for each home game that would have been played.
And since they can't invite the Community Hero to a game at the Forum, the Lightning are sending representatives to them.
Former team captain Dave Andreychuk has delivered some of the donations; team owner Jeff Vinik handed out the first one.
Tuesday will mark the 11th Community Hero they've recognized since this fall when the Lightning honor Charley Richards, founder of Community Assisted & Supported Living in Sarasota.
That means they've crossed over half a million dollars in donations since this season would have started.
If you'd like to nominate someone to be honored as a Lightning Community Hero, follow this link to their Lightning Community Hero nomination website. The last round of nominations ends January 15th.
Grayson Kamm, 10 News