Tampa Bay Lightning Host Hockey Fights Cancer Game

The Tampa Bay Lightning and members of the Tampa Bay community came together Nov. 3 to join the fight against cancer at the Lightning’s Hockey Fights Cancer game.

“It’s really important that we lead by example and we inspire others and in the fight against cancer I think we all know someone fighting that fight,” said Lightning Foundation Executive Director Elizabeth Frazier.

Players rallied together; wearing purple jerseys with purple taped hockey sticks to show their support for the cause.

“It means so much to see the entire community give it their all to support people like myself,” said Kerry Roopchand, Moffitt Cancer Center patient.

The event will benefit research efforts at Moffitt, the Lightning’s charitable partner, to help find a cure for cancer. Moffitt team members were taken back by the support.

“It’s so amazing to see such a turnout from our community to help with the prevention and cure of cancer,” said Dr. Damon Reed, Moffitt sarcoma department medical director.

To learn more about the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiative, visit https://www.nhl.com/community/hockey-fights-cancer.

Florida Focus News Brief Nov. 10, 2016

In this episode: Devon Lee Freeman is in custody, charged with second-degree murder for fatally shooting a Bradenton teen; Clearwater police are searching for a serial armed robber, suspected of hitting two Wal-Mart stores as well as a Seven-Eleven; a Disaster Recovery Center opens in Manatee County to assist victims of Hurricane Matthew; new bike lanes are coming to down town Tampa; the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate our veterans with camouflage warm-up jerseys, holiday cards from fans to troops overseas during the Lightning’s Military Night at Amalie Arena.

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Florida Focus News Brief March 21, 2016

In this episode: a Sarasota crash leaves three dead and one hospitalized; dash-cam video of yesterday’s I-275 wrong-way driver released; Florida gas prices have increased 29 cents in the last 20 days; and wives and girlfriends of the Tampa Bay Lightning are hosting a philanthropic fashion show.

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Lightning fans find a home at Hablo Taco

Blue and white jerseys converged on Channelside Plaza on Saturday night, as Tampa Bay Lightning fans hoped to witness the team extend its seven-game win streak.

After beating the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 21, the Lightning were looking to extend their streak against the division leading, and in-state rival, Florida Panthers.

The official watch party of the Lightning took place at Hablo Taco, a Mexican themed restaurant that sits in the shadows of Amalie Arena. Bartenders pour tequila into margarita bowls that rival Lord Stanley’s Cup in size; the bar even refers to the drink as “Stanley Cup’s cousin from south of the border.”

“This is all for the hockey team? I didn’t realize that it was so big down here,” said David Pearson, a tourist from Boston.

With easy access to and from the Tampa Cruise terminal, it’s just a quick trolley ride away from the downtown hotels. This makes it a common occurrence to run into a couple like David and Lisa Pearson from Boston, misplaced Bruins fans who quickly realized that they may have made a mistake in their venue selection.

What may have been overwhelming for a couple on vacation, was actually sparse showing from previous Lightning watch parties; a result of the Sticks of Fire missing from making their usual appearance at watch parties. The Sticks of Fire, a budding Lightning fan base, traveled with the team to Sunrise, FL, to support the players, leaving a noticeable absence.

The Pearsons quickly closed out their tab, making way for a young couple at the bar. Cody Gage and Parisee Wood, both of whom are Lightning fans who came out to their first watch party. While Wood was born and raised in Clearwater, she has never attended a single game, and hopes to rectify that this season.

“Living in Florida my whole life, I wasn’t really exposed to hockey while growing up,” Wood said. “With as good as they’ve been, I started to take notice, and now I can’t wait to watch them.”

It was up to in-game announcer Greg Wolf and the Bolt Brigade to hype the crowd; not really a hard thing to do when you’re giving away memorabilia signed by star players like Ondrej Palat and Brian Boyle. Even the Lightning mascot, Thunder Bug, made it out to the party.

Gage has followed the Lightning for the past four years, not too long after he decided to move from Vermont to Florida. Having left what is considered to be a typical hockey market for the likes of Tampa, he admitted to the market being untraditional.

“Of course it’s an untraditional hockey market. There’s no way that a native Floridian would know about the traditions of old hockey but that doesn’t matter,” Gage said. “That’s what teams like Tampa and Dallas bring to the table, an unorthodox and fresh point of view.”