This might be the lockout talking, but Saturday’s game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum was an insanely good time. It helps that the proceeds went benefited the Gold Shield Foundation and the majority of the players are active members of the Bay area police and fire departments.
The event started at 3 pm with a gear sale and the Lightning alumni/personalities signing autographs for the fans. We’ve seen Stan Neckar, Chris Dingman, and Dave Andreychuk involved with the team for quite some time. It was a pleasant surprise to see the return of defenseman Jassen Cullimore. The charm of the Tampa Bay area is definitely apparent in how many Bolts return here when their playing days are done.
After the doors opened, fans were treated to seats in the sections right at center ice. Two youth hockey teams got the action started. These kids were super good and it was so fun to watch. After the kids finished, Team Fire & Team Police took the ice. Team Fire ended up winning the game 9-7 and money was raised for a very worthy cause.
It was the first hockey of any kind I’ve seen live since the last Lightning home game in April. It didn’t take long to be reminded of all the things I missed. The chill of the building, the sounds of hockey, and yes even the greasy arena food.
Here’s a video of the roster introductions. Let the dulcet sounds of Rick Peckham’s voice soothe you.