There are some strong sports ties between New York City and Tampa-St. Pete.
The late George Steinbrenner set up executive offices in Tampa, where he lived, for his brain trust. There is now a Steinbrenner Field, spring training home of the New York Yankees.
The current Stanley cup Semi-Final features a subplot out of a trade between the two teams. Martin St. Louis, long a fixture for the Bolts last year requested a trade. He was request was accommodated. In return for St. Louis, the Rangers parted with their captain Ryan Callahan and some draft picks. Subsequently via free agency two more ex-Rangers joined the Lightning.
But perhaps the biggest common thread between the two towns is that of a former NHL star, executive and broadcaster who made his presence felt on both places.
Phil Esposito is best recalled for his years with the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins. He is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, a two-time Stanley Cup winner and scored 76 goals one year.
He ended his playing career in New York in 1981, then went into management there as a broadcaster and then as a GM, where he was known as Trader Phil.
After leaving New York he was most responsible for the formation of the Tampa Bay Lightning. There he served as the team’s president and general manager until 1998. There is a statue of him outside Amalie Arena.
Today his two teams are playing one another.
The New York Times caught up with him.