Plans coming together to honor, hire former captain

Published August 29, 2006

Final details still have to be worked out, but it appears the Lightning will give former captain Dave Andreychuk a "night" on Dec. 5 at the St. Pete Times Forum.

There also are discussions about Andreychuk filling an official role with the team, perhaps as its "ambassador" in the community.

Andreychuk was a huge part of Tampa Bay's 2003-04 Stanley Cup victory and was that season's feel-good story as he won his first Cup to cap a career that likely will put him in the Hall of Fame.

"You're talking about the guy who held the Stanley Cup over his head in 2004," team spokesman Bill Wickett said. "There's no question we want him to be part of the Lightning family for a long time."

Lightning officials and Andreychuk met Monday for about an hour. Wickett said more meetings will be in the near future.

Andreychuk's night could coincide with a visit by the Sabres, who drafted the left wing 16th overall in 1982 and for whom he played until February 1993.

Andreychuk, who played for the Lightning from 2001 to January 2006, could not be reached for comment. Tampa Bay associate coach Craig Ramsay, who played three seasons with Andreychuk in Buffalo, said a night is well-deserved.

"He had a huge impact here," Ramsay said. "We were trying to find out who we were as a team, and he came in and really helped us do that. He was a real leader on our hockey team."

Andreychuk had three 20-goal seasons for the Lightning before he was waived and assigned to AHL Springfield, though Tampa Bay did not require him to report.

The Hamilton, Ontario, native had six goals and 18 points in 42 games in 2005-06 and finished his career with 640 goals, including an NHL-high 274 on the power play.

His 1,639 games are fourth all-time.

Though Andreychuk, who turns 43 on Sept. 29, did not play after leaving Tampa Bay, he never formally announced his retirement.

Considering the tribute in the works, that could happen soon.