Hockey and the beach.. Yes Please!
We hear this said every year when we are in the playoffs. Other teams, well their fans, are talking about how hockey doesn’t belong in Florida, yet we still have 2 teams in this beautiful state. If you talk to anyone who lives out of this state, in a cold weathered winter climate, they explain how Florida is just way to warm for hockey and how they should just stick to baseball and football. My question is why does hockey have to rely on a climate standard to Canada? Clearly, Wayne Gretzky didn’t complain about the weather in LA when the hockey great left the dynasty of Edmonton and went to California.
Hockey in Florida has grown so beautifully. While it does take years to build a true fan base, Tampa has adapted hockey and made it their own sport. Margarita’s and sand right before a hockey game is an amazing scene. After you watch the sunset go down on the beach, head over to the arena and watch the Tesla Coils give off their shock. Seeing Thunder Alley, the statues of the great ones and feeling the vibration of the Thunder is just some of the sites for the local fans. The support from past players all over the community, TV, and news are another great part of the Lightning.
We want the cup…
The Lightning have a team that is more than over due for a cup and will send Tampa lightning storms all over the coast. The fans have so much pride from holding on to old hockey tickets, tattoos, bathing suits and flipflops with lightning logos to all of your traditional fan memorabilia. Of course, a beach ball that says hockey might not be common for those in Calgary, but neither was a cup in 2004.
Support in the community
Tampa is still a growing community and has a lot of additional support jumping on year after year. They have many hockey groups out there, Facebook groups, websites and much more giving their support. Groups like the Thunder Strikers even run toy drives and other events to continue giving back to the community while supporting the Storm. Tampa isn’t one to sit back and worry about the rest of the league. They are scoring and averaging over 4 goals a game in the first half of the 2018-19 season and moving forward.
Not all standards are the same
While Tampa is not the norm when it comes to hockey, we are building in what we believe to be the best. I do apologize if you are offended by flipflops at a hockey game but that is our culture just like Blackhawks make noise during the national anthem. If what we do in our arena offends your fan base to the point that you want to put the storm down, just remember that no one can control mother nature. The Lightning will grow on and continue to grow their fan base stronger every year.
Setting your own trend
It doesn’t matter if you were a bolt band back in 1992 or before the cup or even this year. Welcome to the storm and welcome to the Tampa Bay Lightning Dynasty of 2018.