Vinny Lecavalier Scores when it really Counts

By on September 15, 2011

With Wendy Eckhardt

Tampa, Fla. –  TPepin’s Hospitality Centre (a must place if you are having an event in Tampa) was decked out to the nines Wednesday night as Tampa’s finest citizens and celebrities came out to support our community’s hockey champion and his fine charity.

Vincent Lecavalier (Vinny) just doing what he does off the ice to benefit The Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorder Center at All Children’s Hospital in Tampa.

“ALL-IN” has been the rallying cry of the Tampa Bay Lightning since owner Jeffrey Vinik took over the club in February 2010 and when it comes to helping children that is the only way Vinny knows how do it, “ALL-IN.” 

The 5th Annual Vincent Lecavalier Texas Hold ‘Em Celebrity Poker Tournament &
Casino Night was no different.  A host of celebrities and Lecavalier supporters were there in full fashion to play poker, casino table games and and most importantly scream, “We love children too Vinny!”

VIP poker player and Lightning season ticket holder Dan Carroll said when I asked him of the event being huge replied, “Yes it is!  I’m a huge hockey fan, I love the Lightning and it’s all for the kids. Something he does every year and it’s a very well respected charity and it all goes to the kids, which is important to me.” I asked Dan how he was going to fair at the poker table, with a huge smile he said,   “I’m probably gonna win.”

I already knew Dan was a winner because he was there.

As one walked into the beautiful main entrance of  TPepin’s Hospitality Centre one couldn’t help notice the party to the left in the Trophy Room.  This one of kind room decorated with the most prized memorabilia of the Pepin family (the Alaskan Bear is a must see) was the setting of the VIP party.  I witnessed in full force the Lightning team representing their captain would make one just as proud as they did three months ago falling just a goal short of a visit to the Stanley Cup Final.  Downie, St. Louis, Stamkos, Hedman, Purcell, Malone, and so on, yea you know the guys.

In the Trophy Room is where I chatted with Martin St. Louis and he said, (About the event) “It’s always exciting to contribute when you can.  Obviously, Vinny has done a tremendous job in the community with his foundation and you know this is actually always a fun time of year to do something like this because a lot of the guys just got back in town getting ready for training camp and it’s kind of a get together, fun and a charity event to raise as much money as we can at the same time.”  (Speaking of camp opening in two days) “Oh for sure you know were ready to go but this is a nice little get together I guess and as you say a nice little retreat before we get going.” I asked Marty about having a leader like Jeffrey Vinik who gives to the community himself, how he assists in being a role model for the players, Marty responded, “We are very pleased with what he has done on the ice obviously, in the building because that really affects us you know I think judging even more with Mr. Vinik what he has done off the ice and in the community and obviously he’s got a commitment over the next five seasons to give about $50,000 every home game to different local heroes it will be fun and were just glad that we’re in good hands.”

Andy Brouillard, TPepin’s Hospitality Centre’s General Manager, was smiling ear to ear when he said, “Rick we always like doing these very high profile fun events, as a matter of fact I was just telling Vinny Lecavalier that the last time he was in our building we shaved all of his hair off and the team just kept winning the rest of the year, so you gotta come back do that shaving again, but we hope you raise a lot of money for your foundation tonight.” 

I had the pleasure to speak with Ron & Tina Ackerman, who were extremely happy to be there for the great cause Vinny stands for.

At approximately 7:30pm the grand curtain was drawn open for what would be a motivating experience for all in attendance.  With Vinny on stage he introduced young Will and his family the Dewhurst’s. Will is one of the young patients undergoing treatment at The Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorder Center at All Children’s Hospital.  Vinny himself, designed his first ever COURAGE COIN and presented it to Will.  At that moment there was no doubt… the real hero is young Will. Did it really matter about the poker tournament?  For all of us who were in attendance know the answer to that, and that’s why we were there.

Vinny Lecavalier shoots and scores! 


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