Category: Tampa News

TAMPA BAY SPORTS

First place Tampa Bay Lightning are showing the Canadians that they are a force to be reckoned with. Tamp Bay is a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern conference. More commonly known as the BOLTS, a name inspired by Phil Esposito.

Esposito is best known from his days as a Canadian broadcaster. He was also a coach, a player, and former professional ice hockey executive. He is a respected member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Esposito’s successes included playing 18 seasons in the National Hockey League for the Chicago Black Hawks, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. Hockey News

The name came as a suggestion when during the summer months in Tampa the storms produce Strong Lightning Bolts in the sky. Hence the name “The Bolts” or Tampa Bay Lightning was born.

Billionaire Jeffrey Vinik, the owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning who purchased the brand almost a decade ago, had a good feeling about this team from the very start. Tampa has produced so many great sports teams. As an financial analyst, Vinik knew there was much growth potential demographically in the Tampa area.

This will be another exciting year for the Bolts as they travel to Canada in Winnipeg Winnipeg Manitoba to face off with the Central division leaders the Winnipeg Jets.

The Bolts and the Jets played very well going into the weekends All Star break. The Tampa Bay Lightning are on a three game winning streak as the Winnipeg jets are now three out of four games win. Sports

This weekend all eyes will be on the Super Bowl and Tom Brady. As Minnesota hosts the 52nd Super Bowl this Sunday. Good luck to the Philadelphia Eagles and to the New England Patriots. May the best team win.

SUPER BOWL 52

I am personally a Hockey aficionado and admit that I too will be eating wings and pizza and drinking beer and rooting for one of the teams this Sunday. Which team, I have no favorite. I am on the bandwagon so to speak. Maybe one day the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host a Super Bowl or win it! The fun and the excitement is part of the adventure.

After the Super Bowl is over, there are still a few months of great hockey coming. Go Bolts! Make some Lightning happen!

Snapchat Video Gets Teacher Fired

A video posted to Snapchat has resulted in the dismissal of a Tampa area school district employee. In addition to the Sarasota High School teacher who has lost her job, another employee has been given new duties. The other employee was an assistant principal who hosted a party where the video was taken. It’s all because of what the employee appears to be doing in a Snapchat video.

The school district received a copy of the video and began an investigation that led to the dismissal and reassignment of duties. The video shows an adult woman grinding with what appears to be a teenage boy. The boy didn’t attend the school where the woman teaches. Instead, he attends a nearby high school. School officials say that’s inappropriate enough to warrant a dismissal. The school says that there was too much contact between the adult and the minor to be professional conduct for an educator. The woman in the video was the registrar at a Tampa-area high school.

It all began when an assistant principal hosted a birthday party at her home. The teenager in question said that he didn’t even know who the other person in the video was. He said that he didn’t know that she was a school employee. The boy said that he was intoxicated at the time of the party. He said he got the party information from Snapchat and even arrived at the party via Uber.

School district officials say that the party host is no longer assigned to duties that involve working with students. They say the teacher in the video had only been with the school district since August. They chose to terminate her employment. The assistant principal has been working for the school since 2014.

The local sheriff’s office says that they’ve conducted an investigation. They say that the teen’s mother doesn’t want to press charges. They say that they don’t even plan to submit a police report for potential charges. They consider the matter closed.

The school district says that they’re continuing to conduct an internal investigation. They say that they haven’t finished the investigation yet. Until that happens, they say they aren’t sure if additional action is warranted. They say if it is, they’ll be sure to do what’s best for the school district and for all of their students.

What Kwon Alexander Got From His Pro Bowl

Kwon Alexander’s Lessons from His First Pro Bowl

 

As far as the end of the NFL season goes, it’s quite an honor to be nominated to the Pro Bowl, whether it’s the first or tenth time doing so.

 

Enter Kwon Alexander, a linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl this year as a replacement for an injured player. Despite this, he didn’t feel as though this took anything away from his first Pro Bowl nod in Camping World Stadium in Orlando.

 

When asked about it, Alexander said it was both amazing and a blessing to be there on the same field as other top players in the NFL who earned similar accolades during the year. He added that he had a great time being on the field, enjoyed the practices and just the overall feeling of the game itself.

 

Alexander is only 23 years old, just finishing his third season in the NFL. He’s totaled 335 tackles in that time, as well as six sacks and six interceptions. In the Pro Bowl game he ended the day with six tackles, which actually tied for the most of any other player for the NFC. Granted, the AFC won the game 24-23, after the NFC managed to get a 20-3 lead at one point but at the end of the day the game is just about players having fun, all the while during a rainstorm.

 

Teammate and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was one of the many to sing praises for Alexander, saying that “Kwon deserves it” after he asked McCoy what did he have to do in order to get there. Now it appears that Alexander now knows what it takes and would like to get an All-Pro nod added to his football resume. McCoy himself just notched his sixth straight trip to the Pro Bowl this year.

 

McCoy wasn’t the only older player to spend time with Alexander this past week, as former Bucs players like Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn were also around. Both former players were titled as “Legends” captains for the NFC side of the game.

Rays Release 2018 Schedule and Times

One of the most exciting teams in baseball every year tends to be the Tampa Bay Rays. The Tampa Bay Rays are well known for always putting a competitive team on the field despite the fact that they always have one of the lowest payrolls in baseball. To make matters worse, they also have to compete in the same division with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, which are two teams that often have among the highest payrolls.

While the Rays tend to have a hard time keeping up in free agency, their unique and consistent ability to identify talent in the draft and through trades pays off every year. In 2017, they ended up finishing third in the division with a record of just under .500. Now the teams is returning a lot of talent and should be exciting to watch. Fans of the Rays recently received the final and full schedule for the 2018 MLB season (https://www.draysbay.com/2018/1/10/16875364/tampa-bay-rays-2018-game-start-times).

Fans of the Rays and the rest of baseball already have a lot of dates circled on their calendar. The Rays will open up the MLB season on March 29 against the Boston Red Sox with a 4pm first pitch. The team will then end up playing 9 of their first 12 games during the day to start the year. Once the season gets going and into May, more and more of the games will be played at night. The Rays will follow a pretty typical schedule with night games starting around 7pm and Sunday afternoon games start at 1pm.

There are a number of very big series that the Rays will have. The team will play their first 10 games against the Red Sox (7) and Yankees (3). This will give the team a good starting challenge and could allow them to get off to a great start. One of the biggest series of the season will come in July when the Rays will host the Miami Marlins for a three game set. This interleague battle is quickly becoming one of the top rivalries in the sport. Also in July will the annual All-Star game, which is going to be on July 17 and will be held in Washington DC at the Nationals stadium.

2018 NHL All-Star Game to Feature Four from Host Tampa Bay

On January 28th, Tampa will host the NHL All-Star Game for a second time after having featured the event back in 1999. With the Tampa Bay Lightning currently atop NHL standings, a league-leading four players from the team have been chosen to take part in the festivities.

Nikita Kucherov, who leads the league in goals and points, will be joined by linemate and Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos, defenseman Victor Hedman, and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. Only one other team, the Los Angeles Kings, had even three players selected as All-Stars.

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper will be behind the bench at the All-Star Game for the Atlantic Division team.

Lightning fans have the good fortune of Tampa getting to host All-Star Weekend during a season in which their team is absolutely dominating the competition. With a stellar record of 31-9-3, Tampa Bay is comfortably ahead of all other Atlantic Division squads, and even has considerable breathing room in the Eastern Conference and in the NHL as a whole. The Lightning lead the league in goals scored as well as in scoring differential. In addition to the team’s otherworldly offense led by Stamkos and Kucherov, Vasilevskiy is leading all netminders with six shutouts.

Tampa Bay has designs on greatness beyond just the All-Start Game this year. After losing in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals, the Lightning made a deep playoff run again in 2016 when they lost in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Pittsburgh Penguins who went on to hoist the Stanley Cup. Due in large part to injuries to Stamkos, Tampa Bay narrowly missed the playoffs in 2017. If the Lightning can maintain its current winning pace, the team will be able to count on home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs this spring.

The All-Star Game will look different to Tampa residents who last attended in 1999. It is now a three-on-three single-elimination tournament made up of three 20-minute games. In each of the two semi-final games, All-Stars from two divisions face off. The winning divisions from those two games then meet in the final match. Instead of having standard overtime, tied games go directly into a shootout round.

Miami Marlins Have More Room To Breath Than You Think

The sports world has been dominated with news of how the new CEO of the Miami Marlins, Derek Jeter, is going to cut more payroll and work on raising more money from investors. So far, the new owners have raised roughly $1.276 billion in order to fund the purchase of the team, but it looks like their may be more on the horizon. What is going largely unreported, is the fact that Jeter has more breathing room than most people think when it comes to the financials.

It looks like Derek Jeter will have roughly a 4 percent stake in the team while retired NBA player Michael Jordan will have about half of one percent. Bruce Sherman will become the controlling owner of the team and have the highest stake, roughly 46 percent. Other ownership will go to Viking Global co-founder David Ott with about a 10 percent share, Sigma Group founder Jamie Montealegre with about a 7 percent share, Energy Capital Partners senior partner Doug Kimmelman with an 8 percent share, and The Beekman Group managing partner John Troaino with a 5 percent share. Sherman, Jeter, Kimmelman, Troaino, and Ott will serve on the board for the team and Jeter will be in charge of heading the business and baseball operations. The original funding consisted of $400 million in debt, $76 million in preferred equity, and $800 million in common equity. The sale included about $102 billion paid to Jeff Loria, $25 million for closing costs and capital adjustments, which left about $50 million on the balance sheet. In 2017, the Marlins posted a negative operating income of about $66 million, which includes the money they received from the revenue sharing system which was over $60 million. It is assumed that for this coming year, the payroll will run $93 million and this will leave the team with a balance of about negative $20 million.

Somehow, the team will have to increase revenue. While there is much speculation about how and if they can do so, with all the reports, it has gotten lost that the team will have an extra $50 million or so from the money raised from the purchase of the team. This $50 million can go a long way

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Look for Ways to Improve

As everyone prepared for the 2017 NFL season, there were many different teams that people expected to take a step forward and become one of the top teams in the league. One team that was widely considered to be a favorite to make a major Improvement for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers, which had not made the playoffs in more than 10 years, showed a lot of Promise during the 2016 season. A significant amount of this promised had to do with the fact that they had a Young quarterback in Jameis Winston and strong wide receiver in Mike Evans.

During the 2016 NFL season the Buccaneers looked as if they were going to finally fulfill some of their promise. The team had a very promising finish with 9 wins and 7 losses. While the team was not good enough to make the playoffs, they were considered one of the favorites for the 2017 season. While the Buccaneers were expected to be better, the season did not go the way that they thought it would.

The Buccaneers ended up finishing the 2017 season with a record of five wins and 11 losses. In the very top NFC South Division, this was good for last place by more than four games. As the season has now come to a close, the team is looking for unique ways in which it can improve its team. The team will end up having a very high draft pick do to their low finish and is likely to look for ways to improve their defense. The team struggled mightily to keep up with the strong pass attacks of the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and Carolina Panthers. It is widely expected that Tampa Bay will try and draft a safety or corner back high in the draft.

After the draft, the team will also have to look for ways to improve its depth. The team ended up having some struggles with injuries at the wide receiver position and it seem to have a big impact on them the entire year. While Jameis Winston had a very strong and promising 2016 season, he appeared to take a step back and it is believed that it was because he did not have enough weapons to throw the ball too. He will likely look for some more veteran support to provide more weapons and also leadership for the team.

Lightning Show No Signs of Slowing Down:

Here it is, halfway through the NHL season. At this point, it is pretty clear who are the contenders, who are on the bubble, and who have zero hope of reaching the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are clearly in the first category. Not only are they contenders, they remain the best team in the league. As of January 10th, the Bolts are 31-9-3, good for 65 points, the most in the league. Just behind them is the surprise team in not just the NHL, but in all of sports, the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, who are 29-10-2 with 60 points. If anyone expects the bottom to fall out sometime for the Lightning, don’t plan on it. Yes, they did lose back-to-back games the first week of January — one of those loses coming in a 2-1 shootout versus Montreal. But Tampa Bay is 7-2-1 in its last ten games. They also went 11-2 for the month of December. After a run like that, a little bump in the road is expected. But the Lightning responded from those back-to-back losses with back-to-back wins over Detroit and Carolina.

The Lightning are tops in the league in several key categories. They rank number one in goals per game at 3.7. Six players are at double digits in goals, with Nikita Kucherov collecting 27. The defense has been just as strong, with Tampa Bay allowing 2.4 goals per game, the 2nd best average in the NHL. Along with Andrei Vasilevskiy having a 2.10 GAA, only two players on the roster have a plus-minus rating in the negative numbers. The defensemen can also get into the scoring act as well, as the blue liners have put up 30 goals this season, led by Mikhail Sergachev with eight. Your text to link… They are also third in the power play at 24.7 percent.

The Lightning’s winning ways have allowed them to build up a 12-point lead over Boston and Toronto in the Atlantic Division, and that’s with the Bruins recent 8-0-2 run. The only way for Tampa Bay to lose its hold on the division is with an epic collapse. That, however, appears unlikely.

Mike Evans Celebrates Christmas by Launching New Charity

The Buccaneers’ playoff hopes may be fading, but wide receiver Mike Evans is doing his best to spread Christmas cheer in spite of the team’s difficulties. On Monday, Evans realized a lifelong dream by launching his new non-profit organization, the Mike Evans Family Foundation. The foundation provides college scholarships for underprivileged teenagers and support for victims of domestic violence. Evans and his wife Ashli kicked off a three-day Catch for Christmas event this week to raise money for their new non-profit.

Evans, who grew up in Galveston, Texas, witnessed the results of domestic violence firsthand in his own family. He attended Ball High School where he excelled at basketball and dabbled in football. Texas A&M University then offered him a football scholarship, a school Evans say he never would have been able to afford on his own. After an impressive two-year stint on the Aggies, Evans was drafted by the Buccaneers in 2014. Now in his fourth season on the Buccaneers, Evans is ready to give back to the communities that helped him achieve his dreams. His new foundation will help people in both his hometown of Galveston and in his adopted city of Tampa.

The Evans family kicked off their Catch for Christmas event on Monday with a fundraising dinner at 717 South. The event was attended by such luminaries as Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister and Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon. Evans was also supported by teammates like Jameis Winston. Part of the proceeds of the fundraising dinner will go to the Spring of Tampa Bay, a local domestic violence shelter. On Tuesday, Evans and his wife visited the shelter for a private dinner with survivors.

In the last stage of the foundation’s holiday event, Evans invited 15 children from Sulphur Springs Elementary to the team’s headquarters at One Buccaneer Place. The children knew they were being given a tour, but learned to their surprise that the famous wide receiver and his wife would be their guides. Evans told the children jokes, juggled and gave them Christmas gifts.

Evans is not the only Buccaneer to have a charitable foundation. Former teammate Vincent Jackson has his Jackson in Action 83 Foundation to benefit military families, and Jameis Winston launched his Dream Forever Foundation earlier this year. Although the Mike Evans Family Foundation is launching on small scale, Evans hopes to expand the non-profit in the coming years.

Tampa’s Own Chuck Owen Receives 4 2017 Grammy Nominations

Tampa, Florida jazz artist and USF Jazz professor Chuck Owen has received 4 Grammy nominations for his 2017 piece of art album titled “Whispers On The Wind” This is not Owen’s first nomination for the prestigious music award, he also received 2 nominations in 2014.

 

The cutoff for 2017 nominations was September 30, 2017 so Owen must have produced something really special with “Whispers On The Wind” because it was just released in late September of 2017. Getting a single nomination for that late of a release would be a big enough challenge but to receive 4 tells us that Tampa has a very talented artist and teacher in Chuck Owen. Certainly one the entire Bay area can all be proud of.

 

In a recent interview with Creative Loaf, Owen stated that he knew “There was something from the beginning about Whispers that just felt ‘right” and that he is hoping to be able to attend the award ceremonies in person on January 28, 2018 at New York City’s famous Madison Square Garden. Certainly many Tampa Bay area Jazz and music lovers will tune in to cheer on the local artist and teacher.

 

The 4 categories that “Whispers On The Wind” received nominations for Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Capella, Best Large Jazz Ensemble Recording (the album was recorded with a 19 piece band), Best Instrumental Composition and Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.

 

In addition to being a jazz artist, composer and album producer, Owen is also the University of South Florida’s Director of Center For Jazz Composition and the university’s Director of Jazz Ensemble. He has served the university in these capacities for 22 years. Prior to becoming a distinguished professor at USF, Owen received his Bachelor of Music at North Texas State University and then went on to earn a Masters in Orchestral Conducting from California State University-Northridge.

 

There were over 22,000 Grammy nominations submitted this year so Chuck Owen, The University of South Florida and all Tampa citizens can certainly be very proud of this accomplishment. Good luck Chuck.