TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The reigning Stanley Cup champs are back to defend their title.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will kick off their season at Amalie Arena Wednesday night, but they’ll be doing so without fans.
The team’s parent company, Vinik Sports Group, LLC, made the announcement last week citing COVID-19 concerns.
Fans aren’t allowed at the games through at least Feb. 5. The decision will also affect upcoming Toronto Raptors games.
The chief marketing and revenue officer for the parent company Jarrod Dillon said they felt putting a pause on having fans at the game was the best thing to do right now, but they want fans to remain patient.
“This was something we felt was in the best interest of the community right now to try to do our part and be responsible in opening the arena,” Jarrod Dillon said. We’re very hopeful we’ll get the fans back in the building.”
The team is unveiling replica 2020 Stanley Cup championship banners at seven locations around the Tampa Bay area Wednesday.
The unveilings at each location will include Lightning representatives and alumni, city officials, healthcare and frontline workers, Season Ticket Members, ThunderBug and members from the Lightning’s Blue Crew.
The locations and times are:
- St. Petersburg Pier, 800 2nd Avenue NE, St. Petersburg from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
- Clearwater Aquarium, 249 Windward Passage, Clearwater from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
- Tampa General Hospital, 1 Tampa General Hospital Circle, Tampa from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
- Armature Works, 1910 N. Ola Avenue, Tampa from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- Tampa Firehouse, 808 E. Zack Street, Tampa from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- Riverwalk & Kiley Gardens, 400 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
- AdventHealth, 2600 Bruce B Downs Boulevard, Wesley Chapel from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Vinik Sports Group, LLC will monitor COVID-19 numbers and consult with local health and government officials before making a decision about the future.
The Lightning play the Chicago Blackhawks at 8 p.m. on NBCSN. The team will have a banner raising ceremony before the game.
LATEST NEWS FROM WFLA.COM:
- Charles Barkley says pro athletes should get preferential COVID-19 vaccine treatment
- ‘You can feel the energy’: Tampa Bay sports radio hosts say Bucs fans love Brady vs. Brees matchup
- The Terminator is coming: Packers prepare for Aaron Donald
- Rays plan to have limited number of fans at 2021 home games
- World Golf Championship moving from Mexico to Florida