A Bruins fan has a soft spot in his heart for the Lightning

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  1. Fenway

    Fenway Bruins Historian Sponsor

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    [​IMG]

    September 20. 1990 was when hockey was born in Tampa Bay and I was there.

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A crowd of 25,581, more than 4,500 above the National Hockey League single-game record, turned out Wednesday night to see the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Kings, 5-3, in an exhibition game at the Suncoast Dome.

    Phil and Tony Esposito called in favors to promote that game and found 3 media backers to help promote the game - Nanci Donnellan from WFNS, Tedd Webb from WFLA Radio and Chris Thomas from Channel 8. The game was even televised live on Channel 44 and there was a buzz that Tampa Bay was a legitimate NHL expansion candidate.

    The City of St. Petersburg saw they had a possible tenant for the dome but then assistant city manager Rick Dodge decided that Peter Karmanos would be a better owner and gave him the rights to the Suncoast Dome because Phil and Tony had no investors behind them. The NHL 3 months later gave Esposito the franchise.

    Dodge then gambled that the NHL would see how underfunded Phil was and give the franchise to Karmanos and he also expected MLB would give Stephen Porter a baseball expansion franchise and St Pete using baseball revenue could then build a NHL arena.

    Things then got crazy as Phil trotted out first the Earl of Manchester and then mysterious Japanese investors. The Japanese did pay to convert Expo Hall to hockey even though it was 30 miles from Pinellas County which most thought was the logical place for a hockey team.

    [​IMG]

    Dodge waved the white flag and the Lightning would move to St. Petersburg but eventually, new owners trusted Hillsborough County over Pinellas County and the Ice Place was built in downtown Tampa.

    I was involved with the Lightning in their formative years but headed back north mainly because I could not deal with the summer in Florida.

    In 2004 I watched in amazement when this happened - bewildered that the Lightning has won the Cup and wondering if the Bruins ever would again as the Bruins were heavy favorites to win in 2004 only to blow a first-round series to Montreal.



    In 2011 the Bruins would win the Cup but they had to beat the Lightning in the ECF first and Game 7 of that series was as close to the perfect hockey game you will ever see. The Bruins won 1-0 and there were no penalties called.



    Now the Bruins and Lightning meet again.

    Tampa Bay you are a hockey city and have been from the start unlike the other team in Florida. Amalie Arena is a wonderful venue and you have a good owner who cares.

    :bruins:bolts
     
    Stamper, AndreRoy, berlin and 4 others like this.
  2. FixerDelta

    FixerDelta Registered User

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    lol @ the completely random potshot at the Panthers for no reason. AND posting this after a game one loss against a rival... Don't know if this is the smartest post of all time.
     
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  3. Fenway

    Fenway Bruins Historian Sponsor

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    I stand by every word - and it was not a random potshot at the Panthers.

    I do believe hockey can work in South Florida but not in Sunrise which is the same problem the Coyotes have in Glendale.

    Tampa Bay has built a base and now is entering the second generation. The NFL Bucs are king in the market but I would say the Lightning have more hardcore fans than the MLB Rays.
     
  4. Hoek

    Hoek 001

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    I appreciated the post personally!

    I also don't feel compelled to defend the Panthers much, though. :P
     
  5. FixerDelta

    FixerDelta Registered User

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    Well, there's no point in turning this into a debate about Lightning vs. Panthers. But it shouldn't be surprising that Tampa's cup win alongside MANY more successful seasons (entering the playoffs and/or making a deep run, including a cup final just 3 years ago) has given them a bigger fanbase. The Panthers haven't won a playoff ROUND since 1996 and have had only 3 appearances since then. Just seems like you're taking an axe to an already weak, low hanging fruit.

    For what its worth, I'm a Panther's fan that respects the hell out of the Lightning organization. They deserve all the success they've had over the years, and hopefully the Panthers are moving in that direction. No need to pick on the little guy, lol.
     
    LonLon Lei and NatoGhost like this.
  6. RussianGuyovich

    RussianGuyovich Hella Ennui

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    Why is this posted here? Post this on the main board or not at all
     
  7. Rschmitz

    Rschmitz Yzermaned

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    I was at the inaugural game too, was 6 years old!

    Good post, the timing might not be the best so forgive some of the shade you are going to get.
     
  8. Electricity

    Electricity Registered User

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    Gee, thanks. :rolleyes:
     
  9. Czerk

    Czerk Registered User

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    I agree with Fenway and my story is similar.. moved to Orlando in 1999 as a young lad! Loved hockey.. love the Bruins... I put my money down when the TB area was getting a team.. I wanted Orlando for sure, but Pat Williams (Magic) was not interested in hockey.. and Tampa was awarded the franchise.. I was there when the Bruins/Islanders preseason game was cancelled in the dome because the ice literally fell apart during player warm-ups.. I was there for the very first pre-season game in Expo hall vs the North Stars where Brian Bradley scored 15 seconds in. I was there on opening night and the whole first season (driving from Orlando). Already a 50 min drive.. adding another 45 min when they moved to St Pete, I could not longer do it. I moved backed to Boston in 1996. Always following the Bolts with 1000's of dollars in Bolts gear, etc. I never stopped being a Bruins fan and since the Bruins didn't play the Bolts very often, never a big deal. I bought Bruins season tickets in 2002. I moved to Tampa in 2014 as my wife really wanted to live in FL and I know the passion of Bolts hockey in TB, it was a perfect place. As soon as we moved, we immediately bought club level full season tickets and Bolts when to the finals ( I still have my Bruins season tickets to this day as well). The new issue is, with the realignment (1st year of it then), the Bolts and the Bruins now meet 4 times a year, including 2 in TB. As much as I love the Bolts, following the players, etc attending all the games, etc, I can never give up being a Bruins fan as this is in my blood as a little boy and I raised both of my children to be Bruins fans.. This series is a struggle. My heart will always be Bruins first, which is why I am rooting for the Bruins. It is hard as all of the STM around me understand I am a loyal Bolts fan, but I am rooting from the Bruins this series and I am "NOT" rooting against the Bolts. I guess you could say it is a win win as one of my two favorite teams is going to advance to the semi finals. Either way, those who don't know Tampa need to understand this is a hockey town.. yes, there are still fans who don't understand the game completely, but they do attend the games and really get into the game, meaning they are not there to say they "WENT".. they go because they want to be the "THUNDER" With that said, I know a lot of TB fans HATE everything about Boston, I didn't think I would ever have things thrown at me at Amalie... especially on the club level, but it did happen in both games. Keep in mind, these are my season seats and I am not the fan that gets into peoples faces etc Either way, any fan coming to Tampa better understand, Tampa IS a hockey city.
     
  10. Post Karl Malone

    Post Karl Malone Registered User

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    I don't get all the snark. JFC man the guy posted something. Don't respond to it if it offends you in some way.
     
  11. Electricity

    Electricity Registered User

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    I know! I posted what a great hockey story the Boston Bruins are on their home page and it was deleted! I even told them what a great hockey town they had there, gosh darn it. JFC!
     

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