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Laurier Grads Soar - Steve Griggs
Laurier Grads Soar is a nine-part series that features former Wilfrid Laurier University varsity athletes and student-leaders in the Athletics and Recreation Department and the success they have enjoyed since leaving Laurier. Written by award-winning journalist David Grossman, a different feature will be released each week over the next nine weeks that will emphasize the role Athletics and Recreation played in helping them achieve success.

Steve Griggs - Chief Executive Officer and President, Tampa Bay Lightning

Steve Griggs is considered to be one of the rising stars in the sports industry.

There’s just one discrepancy between soaring and right now.

Griggs is the Chief Executive Officer and President of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the National Hockey League, having reached that prestigious executive category long ago.

Whether starting his career with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment or recruited to serve leadership roles with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild and the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association, Griggs and sports have had a connection.

Creative and talented, Griggs set out to achieve his own dreams years back. Raised in Toronto, he is a firm believer that dedication and hard work lead to success. And for him, the roots of prosperity link back to those days of university life when he mixed education with sports and came away with strength in leadership and knowledge.

Griggs credits Wilfrid Laurier University, where he earned an Honors Bachelor of Arts Degree in Physical Education, as the first major step to a blockbuster career and tremendous respect and admiration from the community-at-large. After Laurier, he shuffled off to Ohio University, one of the oldest post-secondary schools in the United States, and left with a Masters in Athletics Administration.

“I am not sure I would be where I am today if it wasn’t for Laurier,” recalled Griggs from his office on the coastal side of the Sunshine State. “(Laurier) allowed me to create my own personal brand, gain from decision-making and I am convinced that it helped me develop a work ethic that led to my success.”

Griggs and Laurier have been inseparable. Griggs played on Laurier hockey teams that won Ontario University Athletics championships (OUA) in 1988/89 and 1989/90.

“What I miss most is my time at Laurier,” he said. “You have to enjoy life at university because it goes by so fast. At Laurier, you just knew everyone." 

“The place was special and when I played hockey for the Golden Hawks, everyone on campus and in the community was behind you. The success on the ice was a bonus, the camaraderie in the locker room and social life was very memorable. To some, we were hockey players, but it was way more – friends for life.”

Looked at as being open-minded and determined, Griggs had a vision. Sincere and motivated by pride and creativity, it wasn’t long after his graduation from Laurier, that Griggs landed up working with the largest sports and entertainment company in Canada.

As Director of Ticket Sales with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the experience and productivity led to a Vice President position in Minnesota. Then, on to Orlando and, in 2010, taking on the role as Chief Operating Officer with Tampa Bay.

Quite modest and appreciative of others, Griggs, at one time, languished a career in education as a teacher and still thinks, down the road, he may return to the classroom sharing his experience as a university professor.

“I deal with people every day, teaching and grooming them to be the next leader,” he said. “Over the years, I have worked for incredible people and try to conduct myself using the same principles taught by my mentors and hoping that I have also instilled those same things to others.”

In 2016, the pinnacle of the Tampa Bay Lightning franchise occurred when the team was singled out as the top sports franchise following surveys, feedback and financial analysis ranking every pro franchise in Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the NBA and NHL.

“The day after we were chosen No. 1 in Ultimate standings, I did some reflection on the work, my career, my oath and there was plenty of gratitude,” said Griggs. “I am really blessed to have achieved what I have and to be surrounded with such wonderful people.”

Community involvement is special to Griggs and he’s very active in a variety of events ranging from helping the homeless to training dogs that provide 24-hour care to citizens. And Griggs has a commitment to another special group.

“Each year, there’s the golfing trip with my Laurier hockey teammates and some enjoyable time,” he said. “I’m still, and always will be, Steve Griggs – a Laurier hockey player.”
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