Nate Thompson raises money for Alaskan homeless and other Lightning summer adventures

It’s good to see a summer vacation update from the boys during the off-season, and it’s nice to know the Lightning players aren’t all getting a tan and sipping mojitos beachside.

Though I guess that is a concern during the regular season, too, given that it’s Tampa.

The Peninsula Clairion newspaper in Alaska caught up with Nate Thompson at an appearance at a Kenai Peninsula ice rink where Thompson was out to say hello to youth players as he raised funds for a local non-profit that helps the homeless:

Love In the Name of Christ (Love INC), a nonprofit organization that strives to “meet needs in our community through the resources of the churches,” teamed up with National Hockey League player Nate Thompson, a center for the Tampa Bay Lightning, to raise money to prevent homelessness.

“They raise money for the homeless, and every dollar they raise, they double it,” Thompson said. “It’s for a great cause, no doubt.”

Thompson, who was born and raised in Anchorage, made the most of his 2014 summer vacation to Alaska with his wife, Cristin, and father, Robert, by visiting the Kenai Peninsula for the fundraiser and meeting with kids on the ice for pictures and autographs. The family are also planning on a few fishing trips as well.

The need is so great, according to Thompson’s father, Dr. Robert Thompson, that the organization had to stop taking requests by March because they didn’t have enough money to fund it all.

Here in Tampa, Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times tweeted that Lightning players and staff were making an appearance at the annual Sneaker Soiree fundraiser for the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, celebrating sports and sports business:

Heading back north, goalie manufacturer Brian’s let us know what Lightning prospect Andrei Vasilevskiy what was up to, via Facebook.

The goalie stopped in at the Kingsville, Ontario, headquarters to update his gear for the coming season, as you see in the posed photo. Despite my dislike for white-based gear, I do like the simplistic design he fashioned during the prospects camp last year, which you can see in the photo I snapped here to the right. Image

However, what we see of the design in the photo, he’s posing with the razor graphic made popular by Ray “Razor” Emery. Hopefully it was just something he picked up to try out the feel or to take a photo with.

Really, all I want to know from Andrei is if he decided how he wants to spell his name. We’ve seen a singular I, a double I and iy.

Heading back to the West Coast, coach Jon Cooper will speak at the 2014 National Hockey Coaches Symposium for USA Hockey at Las Vegas’s Marriott Resort & Spa. Cooper has spoken at these events before. Level 5 is the highest level of coaching certification in USA Hockey, and is a bit of a master’s course.

Years ago, probably a decade ago, I was a Level 3 registered USA Hockey Coach, but to finish off the final levels at the time it meant a trip I couldn’t afford to Nashville from Maryland. Today, the upper levels are held closer to different parts of the USA Hockey Districts.

Scotty Bowman, Jack Capuano, John Tortorella, Ed Olcyk, George McPhee, Ron Wilson, Peter Laviolette and many more will also speak at the symposium in August.

Cooper has to take it easy. He’ll be in Vegas in a few days for the NHL Awards to see if he’ll receive the Jack Adams Award and has to pace himself if he’s going to hit the town with Vezina nominee Ben Bishop and Calder nominees Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. But, the guy did coach for a team called the Green Bay Gamblers, so maybe he knows what he’s doing in Sin City.

One player paying for a Vegas-quality night here at home is working his way through the process.

Lightning forward Ryan Malone entered a written not guilty plea for his DUI and cocaine possession charges stemming from an April traffic stop, according to the Tampa Bay Times. His next court date is July 7, but may be without the Lightning by then. The Lightning have until June 30 to use their second and final cap compliance buyout to drop Malone and his cap hit from the team.

Summer vacation is just getting heated up, and it’s still not summer yet. It starts this weekend, but you never would know it here.

Hopefully it’ll be a productive one…or else it’ll be a long summer on this blog.

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