TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The energy surrounding Amalie Arena on game day is always electric.
It’s quite the atmosphere for a place some may have never considered to be a hockey city.
Over the years, which include a 2004 Stanley Cup win and the 2018 All-Star Weekend, Tampa has proven to be a force when it comes to the Lightning and the National Hockey League.
The popularity of both the city of Tampa and the team are bringing in folks from all over.
The Game 2 watch party proved that Friday, as hockey fans from all over the world converged on Thunder Alley as the Bolts took on the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Laura Mathias and her family are visiting Tampa on vacation from Ontario, Canada.
She said she comes from a family of Maples Leafs fans, but they chose to come to Tampa for both the climate and the fact she could easily take her daughters to their first NHL game.
“Basically because it’s in Tampa and we knew it would kind of be a party outside, we’d get to see lots of neat things and it’s something fun to do on our vacay,” Mathias said.
Our wfla.com cameras even found a family sporting the red and white of the Detroit Red Wings.
Adam Maynard and his sons are visiting from Michigan for a birthday.
“Well Steve Yzerman [was] their General Manager so it kind of ties,” Maynard said of former Wings captain and former Bolts GM.
And of course… a few Blue Jackets fans were milling about in the Tampa sunshine.
Todd Frick, an Ohio native, owns a condo down in Tarpon Springs. However, he wasn’t quick to call the Lightning his second favorite team.
“Whoever wins the series, I hope wins the cup. How’s that?” he said.
The Lightning look to even the series at 1 before heading to Columbus for Game 3 on Sunday. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.