Vinny Lecavalier held a news conference Tuesday morning with reporters about his return to his hometown as a Flyer. Here’s some highlights of what he had to say: Q. Were you thinking about this [moment] during Monday’s game in Florida? A. It was hard, but you kind of had to … it’s tough. I was here for a lot of years. The first thing I looked at when we got the schedule when we would come to Tampa. It’s very exciting. Q. Your emotions walking into the arena? A. It was fine. It’s just nice to see everybody. See old teammates, trainers and stuff like that. Nice to see people you worked with and built relationships with all these years. Q. How cool was it to get the Community Hero Award? (He established the Vinny Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg in 2007 and will be honored prior to Wednesday’s game against the Bolts.) A. It’s unreal. I don’t know what to say. It’s a great honor. Everybody knows how I feel about Tampa. Great people here. It’s definitely going to be a great honor. I got to thank the Lightning for that. Q. What have those kids at your cancer center meant to you in your life? A. They’ve meant a lot … I met a lot of them through the years. I had some great relationships with them. I got an e-mail [Monday] … a girl is a year away from remission. It’s nice to still get news even though I am in Philly. To get news from kids here who have battled through so many things … sometimes, we have a bad day and are all grumpy. They’re always smiling … whenever I go to the hospital and meet these kids, what they teach you by being with them. They don’t have to say anything. To see how strong they are, they’ve been through so much and still smiling, and being positive [when] it be so easy to put your head down. But they’re strong. Q. Has having kids sensitized you? A. Definitely. You know before you have kids how tough it is. But when you have your own kids and start realizing [cancer] could happen to you, could happen to anybody … cancer affects these kids. When I first got my daughter, the love for your kid, to even think there is something wrong or bad can happen to them definitely scares you. Q. Have you talked to any of your former teammates? A. I kind of went there and peaked into the other locker room and saw a few guys … I’m excited. I’ll see a few of them today (Tuesday). It’s just nice to be back here. Q. What was it like for the reality to set in of being bought out? A. … I came to get my stuff here at the end of August. Driving over to the house, wow, this is it. I was looking at the arena here, that’s when you realize, ‘OK, I’m here, but I am leaving tomorrow and I won’t be back.’ That’s really when it kind of hit me. That was probably the toughest day, for sure. Q. What will it be like, emotionally, to step onto the ice wearing a different uniform? A. I can’t predict how I’ll feel [Wednesday]. It [was] definitely … very weird just to put on the Philadelphia Flyers jersey the first time. You get used to it. But to play against the Lightning, I don’t know how I am going to feel. But it’s definitely going to be a special night. I’m really excited about it. Q. Was there anything hard about the adjustment [to Philly]? A. No, just the realization of not coming back to Tampa. That was the toughest part. At a certain point, you have to move on. When they told me they were buying me out, even that day, you had to start thinking, ‘I got to make a list here of what I want to do for me and my family.' The process went so quickly, I didn’t get a chance to realize what was going on. That was probably a good thing. The process went pretty well. Q. Given the rivalry with the Flyers and past playoffs, did you ever think, ‘I can’t believe I am signing with the Flyers?’ A. … Once I was bought out and the realization [I have to] play for a different team, I really liked the roster here. I liked the organization. I only heard good things about it. When I met [others in the] organization, they went to the top of the list right away. I liked what they had to say … for me, it was a no-brainer. Q. Will this still be home? A. … In the back of my mind, when I retire, yeah. I’ve always said I want to retire in Tampa … it’s a big city and yet kind of small and great for sports.
Lecavalier excited to return to Tampa Bay
CSN Philly | Nov 27