Hockey Hall of Famer Phil Esposito the National Anthem before the start of game one of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals between the Calgary Flames and the Tampa Bay Lightning on May 25, 2004 at the St. Pete Times Forum
Photographer: Dave Sandford
Copyright Getty Images
TAMPA - The Tampa Bay Lightning have unveiled a bronze statue of team founder Phil Esposito on the plaza outside their arena.
Esposito was instrumental in the Tampa area being award an NHL expansion team that started play in the 1992-93 season. The Hall of Famer is currently a Lightning radio analyst and the vice president of corporate relations.
Esposito spoke at Saturday's ceremony and said to the fans: "Even when the franchise wasn't good, you never quit on us. I've got to say, the friends that I've made in Tampa Bay over these 21 years, honestly, you are the greatest."
Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, former NHL President John Ziegler, Hall of Fame goalie Tony Esposito and 1980 U.S. Olympic goaltender Jim Craig also attended the ceremony.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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