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Spokane Indians

Tampa Bay Lightning star Tyler Johnson returns to Spokane for Indians’ opening night, meets new manager Kenny Holmberg

Spokane Indians manager Kenny Hilmberg, left poses for a photo with Tampa Bay Lighting Tyler Johnson before a game against the Boise Hawks at Avista Stadium on Friday, June 15, 2018. (James Snook / For The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane Indians first-year manager Kenny Holmberg grew up in the Tampa, Florida, area, swiftly becoming a fan of the city’s NHL team, the Tampa Bay Lighting.

While touring Fairchild Air Force base on Tuesday, Holmberg said he’d recently learned that one of his favorite NHL players, the Lightning’s Tyler Johnson, grew up in Spokane.

“Who knows, maybe I’ll meet him sometime if he’s in town and comes to a game,” Holmberg said. “You think he actually would?”

Yes, as it turns out.

Before pregame festivities at Avista Stadium, Holmberg was with Johnson on the field. Holmberg wore a big grin as he shook the hand of the NHL All-Star and 2009 Central Valley High grad.