Lightning players hit Lakewood Ranch to benefit scholarship fund

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Posted: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 9:00 pm | Updated: 9:44 am, Wed Nov 6, 2013.

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. - At 10-4, the Tampa Bay Lightning are doing some amazing things on the ice this season. Off the ice, they did a wonderful thing here on the Suncoast.

Taylor Emmons was an athlete at Out-of-Door Academy before going to the University of Miami, where he was tragically killed during his freshman year. His family started the Taylor Emmons Scholarship Fund to keep Taylor's name -- and his legacy – alive.

"Our goal is to put a student in each grade, 9 through 12, at Out-of-Door Academy. Right now we have 3 students who we have put in there with a full scholarship for 4 years. We are looking forward to our 4th this year," said Taylor’s dad, Mike Emmons.

Monday, the Tampa Bay Lightning decided to play their first annual golf tournament in Lakewood Ranch, with the proceeds benefiting the Emmons fund.

"This is unfortunate, but you try to make the best of the situation and make it better," said Lightning forward Martin Saint Louis.

"The way the community, and especially Lakewood Ranch, has just supported us, and now to have the Tampa Bay Lightning, it really means a lot to us. We really appreciate it," said Emmons.

It was a glorious day at the country club, but seemingly out of nowhere, it became a very windy day on the golf course. Mike Emmons thinks there is a reason for that. “I think it’s Taylor just looking down on us and giving us a little hardship our way to deal with."

“I know you are getting sprayed with a little water because the wind is blowing the fountain behind us. Look, anytime you can get out in this kind of paradise, I do it. The wind doesn't bother me," said Lightning co-founder Phil Esposito.

The Lightning have begun the season like a house afire, again thanks to the scoring of Steven Stamkos and Marty Saint Louis. "10-4 is a great start, but it’s only a start. We have to carry on and keep building. Obviously we like where we are right now, but there is still room for improvement," said Saint Louis.

"One thing it tells me: when you get goaltending, you are in every game. Bishop has certainly given them goaltending," said Esposito.

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