Tampa Lightning, or the Bolts as they are sometimes called, provide some great Florida hockey entertainment for seasoned hockey fans as well as those who are new to this great game.
In 2004, the entire Gulf Coast of Florida, if not the whole Sunshine State, succumbed to hockey fever.
That spring, the Lightning captured their second consecutive Southeast Conference Division title and their first Eastern Conference title. But, the Bolts were not finished. They rolled over all NHL Eastern Conference playoff contenders and then faced the Western Conference champions, the Calgary Flames, in the Stanley Cup final. And what a final it was! It took seven hard-fought games, but in the end the Gulf Coast of Florida had its first Stanley Cup!
Although the Tampa Lightning have not repeated their successful 2004 NHL campaign, they have continued to provide great Florida hockey entertainment for anyone who watches them in action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
The limitations of a new salary cap and injuries to key players have meant a change in personnel on the Lightnings roster. But with stars like Steven Stamkos (for a great video illustrating this young gun's scoring prowess see the video next) along with some other great young players the Bolts will continue to feature a fast-skating offensive attack. Their defense is only going to get better as Victor Hedman, Tampa's 2009 first draft pick continues to mature and lead the team's defensive corps.
The Tampa Lightning is a little more than two decades old as a franchise in the National Hockey League. The Bolts' first training camp actually opened on September 12, 1992 at the Lakeland Civic Center.
They opened their inaugural season with a 7-3 victory over the Chicago Black Hawks in front of a sell out crowd of 10,425 fans at Expo Hall.
Their first season was what one would expect from an expansion sports team. They finished at the bottom of the standings but provided entertainment every time they stepped on to the ice.
Over the years the Lightning have improved in the standings, although there have been some recent glitches in terms of making the playoffs. But, the team features some of the best young players in the National Hockey League and everyone knows that it will not be long before they are once again in the thick of the battle for the Stanley Cup!
Some Tampa players and fans complain about the number of fans from places like Toronto, Pittsburgh and Boston who come to the games to cheer for the visiting team. But that is what makes the Tampa Lightning hockey games so exciting and entertaining.
If you want to go to a Lightning game to cheer for the Bolts or for another team, it is an easy drive from the Englewood area to watch some great hockey action.
An hour and a half drive from your waterfront condo on one of Englewood's great Florida beaches, or wherever you live in the Englewood area, will take you to the Amalie Arena for a National Hockey League game featuring the exciting Tampa Lightning.
Just another reason it is so easy to Enjoy Englewood Florida!