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The Tampa Bay Lightning won the 2021 Stanley Cup less than 300 days after winning the 2020 Stanley Cup. It was the fastest any team has won two of the NHL's top prize.

Now of course that's because of the COVID pandemic, and the "bubble" season it created last year, as well as the late start it forced on this season. But through it all, Tampa Bay has remained on top. Winning both COVID-impacted Stanley Cups.

Two members of the Tampa Bay organization, who were very important to both of these Stanley Cup Championships, have some strong ties to the Ark-La-Tex.

Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper, as well as Left Wing Pat Maroon, are both former Texarkana Bandits.

The Bandits were members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), which is the same league the Shreveport Mudbugs play in, from 2003-2006. Prior to that, they were members of the Gulf Coast Hockey League.

But while the team was in Texarkana, Jon Cooper was brought in as their first ever Head Coach when they started in 2003. During the 2004-2005 season in Texarkana, Cooper won the NAHL Coach of the Year award.

While Cooper was coaching in Texarkana, he was able to land Patrick Maroon as a member of his team. Maroon made a huge impact on the Bandits, being named to the NAHL's All-Rookie Team his first year. Eventually Maroon would become the NAHL MVP, and win the Robertson Cup, but that was after the team moved from Texarkana to the St. Louis area.

Interestingly for Maroon, it's not just back to back Stanley Cups for him, he has three in a row now. Prior to joining the Lightning for their two Cups, he won it all with the St. Louis Blues.

So now, two guys who used to put the ice down, and the boards up, at the Four States Fairgrounds in Texarkana have won the biggest prize in hockey...together...twice in a row.

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