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Tampa Bay Hockey Exec To Tackle NFL

Jul 24, 2015

The championship Tampa Bay Lightning is losing one of its own -- not to another hockey team -- but to the National Football League.

The Lightning's CEO Tod Leiweke resigned Friday to take over as the Chief Operating Officer for the NFL. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik said he's sad about losing his top manager who has helped to transform the Tampa team into a top hockey franchise in just the past five years.

While talking to reporters, Vinik fondly remembered his first meeting with Leiweke. He said they didn't talk sports or "power plays", they talked about community.

"Tod's heart is so much in the right place," Vinik said during a news conference provided to media. "He's a great leader. He inspires others to give their best.Great at building brands. You see what he's done with the Lightning. And the NFL is very lucky to have him."

Vinik said another strength of Leiweke's was building a deep bench. That's where Vinik looked to find his new CEO. Lightning President Steve Griggs has been tapped to move up to the CEO position.