TAMPA (WFLA) – The Tampa Bay Lightning are looking to start this season on the right track.
But at the same time, it’s hard not to think about the end of the last two seasons.
The Lightning can be proud of our back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships. But what better way to celebrate than with a boat parade of epic proportions.
For Tampa, the boat parade is becoming the precedent for a crowning achievement – like winning the Stanley Cup Championship twice.
When asked which was more difficult to pull off head coach Jon Cooper replied.
“Ah, they’re all tough,” he says.
Team owner Jeff Vinik was elated to be on the water for a second year and thanked the community.
“Beautiful day,” he said. “Tampa Bay thank you all you’re an awesome community guys and thank you!”
Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov didn’t hold back when asked how he feels.
“Our time baby, back to back, that’s how you do it,” he says.
Lightning forward Alex Killorn was pleased to see such solid support from the fans.
“Today we’re just going to enjoy it, this is for the fans. They’ve been such a big and important part of this process. So, let’s do it,” he says.
That celebration was clouded with COVID-19 social distancing and confusion as to where our world was headed while in the throes of the pandemic.
Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh described how it felt being back on the water for a second time.
This was more intimate and fizzy with many moments of pride and reflection.
“Oh, this is unbelievable, just to win one is special, but number two here now, you can tell the energy out here tonight is even better than the one before,” he says.
Many would say this iteration of the boat parade after the Bolts 2021 Stanley Cup win was much more fulfilling than the previous celebration a year prior.
“I’m so proud to represent this community – I’ve been here since I’ve been 18 years old, I’m 30, so I’m getting old,” Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. “This is my team. I wasn’t born here, I wasn’t raised here, but this is my team.”
Many know it’s been an unbelievable achievement with back-to-back championships.
And it was back to the water for another boat parade surrounded by a community of adoring fans.
“This is your day,” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said. “It’s the Lightning’s day, but they are sharing it with everyone in Tampa Bay and it could not be more exciting.”