TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Amalie Arena welcomed back fans Saturday night, allowing them to watch the Tampa Bay Lightning in-person for the first time this season.
“I love it when you walk inside and feel the cool air come off the ice. It’s like you know that you’re here in the house. Completely different from watching it at home,” said Bridgette Downlin.
Before the Lightning took to the ice, the arena raised the new 2020 Stanley Cup banner from last year’s championship win.
“It was a great feeling. Brought some tears. We had a great hug in the stands,” said Justin Pinskeir.
Kevin Preast with Amalie Arena said it was important for them to wait until the right time before allowing people back into the games.
“With the lower numbers, we felt that the timing was right and people were ready and willing so all of the legos were snapping together for us,” said Preast.
Fans were still required to follow strict guidelines like wearing a mask and spacing apart.
“All of the protocols that we used for the concerts, we actually adapted from the NBA and NHL protocol. Everything is as stringent and we’re doing everything necessary to make sure people are safe.”
The arena will allow fans back inside for the Raptors basketball games as well. That’ll start on March 19.