About a week after the Lightning hoisted the Stanley Cup in September, owner Jeff Vinik and his wife, Penny, went out on a date night in downtown Tampa.
The couple sat outside, in masks, in the courtyard at Armature Works near the waterfront and had some wine. It was over a glass of wine at a Christmas concert a dozen years ago when Vinik hatched the idea to buy a professional hockey team, so it’s no surprise a big decision was made on this night.
They knew they wanted to discuss the championship ring and Penny took initiative by starting to sketch one out. She drew some pie-shaped sapphires in the background, with the Cup and a Lightning bolt on the front. They had no idea if it was doable, or how it would look in real life.
“It might have literally been on a napkin,” Vinik said.
They’d go over countless different alterations over video calls with a Jostens’ ringmaker in the next several months, but in the end, the championship ring Lightning players received Friday in the backyard of Vinik’s home was based around that original sketch. And it made history.