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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As the NHL continues to strive for a more diverse and inclusive community, the Tampa Bay Lightning has been dedicated to promoting these values throughout Black History Month and even made history during Tuesday night’s game.

During the first period of the game against the Anaheim Ducks, the Lightning celebrated Black Heritage by honoring local leaders from the “Divine Nine” Black fraternities and sororities as the Lightning Community Hero.

For the first time in NHL history, The Divine Nine, inclusive of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, conducted a ceremonial puck drop to pay tribute to the contributions of African Americans in the sport.

While at the game, the local leaders also received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes Program.

According to the team, the money will be donated to the Divine Nine sororities and fraternities. The funds will benefit local students in the Tampa Bay area and through scholarships and programs that the local Alumni Chapters’ leadership will administer.

For decades, the Divine Nine has provided training, tutoring, and resources that support college preparation, scholarships, economic empowerment, and civil and human rights advocacy for generations to come.

With more than 1.5 million men and women initiated over 117 years, the Divine Nine organizations have produced cultural, political, military, business, and world leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Vice President Kamala Harris, Hakeem Jefferies, John Lewis, Michael Jordan, Shirley Chisolm, and many others.  

Throughout Black History Month, the Tampa Bay Lightning has recognized and celebrated the achievements and contributions of Black players, coaches, and leaders in the hockey community in beyond.