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Lightning CEO Tod Leiweke is leaving team to go to NFL

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It happened a long way from the ice, but the Tampa Bay Lightning have lost their chief executive officer.

Tod Leiweke, 55,has resigned to become the chief operating officer of the National Football League, owner Jeff Vinik announced today. He also announced that president Steve Griggs would take Leiweke’s place, reporting directly to Vinik. While with the Lightning, Leiweke ran the business side of things. General manager Steve Yzerman will continue to run the hockey operations.

Leiweke has worked for the Lightning for five years after coming from the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. “Tod has been instrumental in our franchise transformation and I am grateful for all of his work and dedication. During Tod’s five years with the Lightning, we have set our franchise on a trajectory for excellence. Steve is ready for the additional responsibilities that come with being the CEO. We will not miss a beat moving forward.”

Griggs has held leadership roles with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the Minnesota Wild and the Orlando Magic in his 22 years in the sports industry. The Lightning have projected a season ticket base of more than 13,000 for the upcoming season.

Tod is the best operator in team sports, and he led an inspirational five-year brand and business transformation of the organization,” Griggs said. “We’ll work hard to maintain the great track that Tod has set down for the team.”

The future of all things here in Tampa is bright due to great people like Vinik, Griggs, Yzerman and our leadership team,” Leiweke said. “I want to thank Jeff and his family for allowing me to be a part of such a special group that has changed the course of this franchise. I am thankful for so many community friends who have joined arms to save this team.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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