Hope Allen

When North Tampa Bay Chamber (NTBC) president and CEO Hope Kennedy asked me to write her a recommendation letter to help her get into the Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at my alma mater, the University of Florida, I was proud and honored that she asked, but I warned her that I didn’t know how much pull I actually had at the school I graduated from 30 years ago.

Well, now I’m proud to report that my letter didn’t prevent Hope (photo, right) from getting into U-F, as she posted her letter of acceptance to the program (which is weekends-only) on her Facebook page, which said “…We feel you will be a great addition to our incoming class, and your academic and professional background will be a terrific asset inside our MBA classroom.”

Hope said that because the program is weekends only, there will be “no changes for my role at the NTBC.” Congrats, Hope. Go Gators!

Go Bolts!

As I went to press with my July 6 Wesley Chapel issue (on July 27), the Tampa Bay Lightning had just advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second year in a row, following a thrilling, seven-game series win — capped by a hard-to-breathe 1-0 squeaker at Amalie Arena in Game 7 — over the New York Islanders in the Cup Semifinals, to claim the Prince of Wales Trophy usually given to the National Hockey League’s Eastern Conference champions. 

At that time, I called my shot — Bolts in 5 games over the Montreal Canadiens — and not only did they capture their second Cup in a row, they did so in the five games I predicted.

Just as they did last year before they ended up beating the Dallas Stars 2-0 in the sixth game of the 2020 Cup Finals in Edmonton, Alberta, Captain Steven Stamkos and his teammates (including team chiropractor Dr. Tim Bain (photo, right) chose to touch the Prince of Wales trophy. 

Many teams advancing to the Cup Finals have avoided touching the Conference trophies, but the Lightning proved that superstition wrong last year, when they took home the 2020 Cup in the NHL’s Edmonton “bubble” (meaning that Tampa Bay fans did not get to see any of those wins at home), and again at home at Amalie Arena this year.

The Canadiens — who beat the Vegas Golden Knights in five games and have won more Stanley Cups (23) than any other NHL team— chose to not touch the Clarence S. Campbell bowl usually given to the NHL’s Western Conference champions before heading to the Finals, where Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy outdueled Habs’ netminder Carey Price to claim the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP.

My Condolences…

It is with great sadness that I send my condolences to Samantha Taylor for the recent passing of her husband Drew, who would have turned 51 this month, after a three-week battle with pneumonia.

Samantha, of course, is the owner of four Samantha Taylor Fitness studios for women, including here in Wesley Chapel, and Drew was her personal trainer and the reason she started her studios. Jannah (who works out at Samantha’s Wesley Chapel studio) and I share her grief. 

To make a donation to help, search “Please pray for Samantha Taylor’s husband, Drew” at GoFundMe.com. — GN

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