ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Blue skies and clear water; it couldn't have been a more perfect day to get out into Tampa Bay. With training camp behind them, that's exactly what the Lightning did today.
"The great part about today is no red tide, no near hurricanes, we've had some rough wet weather in the past, but today it's beautiful," said the team's head coach, Jon Cooper.
It was Cooper's fourth annual Coop's Catch for Kids, a fishing tournament that raises funds for kids suffering from pediatric cancer.
"To have the team here, get to meet a lot of different people that support their team and support us throughout the year as well, it's a really fun event," said Lightning center Tyler Johnson.
The entire Lightning roster made the trip into Tampa Bay to fish for snook, redfish, and trout.
"They enjoy giving back," continued Cooper. "They're a super group of guys. Training camp has been a grind, and so I think this is always kind of a little bit of exhale once training camp is over, to go in the boat to fish with people."
The biggest catch of the day didn't come on the water today.
In four years, Cooper's event has raised $500,000 to support the V Foundation and other local pediatric cancer initiatives.
"To see that so many people care, it makes all of us proud that we're part of this event," said Cooper.
"We've gotten to meet some of the kids that this has benefited in years past, just being able to meet them and know exactly what this event is for, I think means a lot more," added Johnson. "I think every year, we always look forward to this."
The Lightning open their regular season Thursday at Amalie Arena against the Panthers. The puck drops at 7 p.m.