TAMPA (WFLA) – Back to the boats, Tampa Bay!!!
The City of Tampa will be holding a celebratory boat parade for the back-to-back Stanley Cup champs on Monday, July 12.
According to Mayor Jane Castor, the players are expected to board the boats around 10 a.m. on Davis Island and the parade is set to kick off at 11 a.m.
Fans will be able to get a view of Lord Stanley along the Riverwalk and several of the city’s parks in the downtown area (ie. Curtis Hixon, Julian B. Lane).
The parade is expected to end around noon but the celebration won’t stop there.
Lightning players will then make their way to Julian B. Lane Park for a community celebration starting at 2 p.m. Castor said the park will open to the public at 9 a.m., where food trucks, activities and entertainment will be available.
What started as a result of the pandemic, has turned into a new city tradition.
“What better way to really let the rest of the world know that not only do we win titles back to back but we get to live in paradise,” Castor said on holding a boat parade versus a traditional celebration.
However, a Tampa Bay boat parade wouldn’t be complete if a possible trophy toss wasn’t in question.
“It’s up to the players, that’s their time,” she said. “We are always prepared. We have divers. If Stanley takes a swim, we’ll get him back in short order.”
The mayor was under fire earlier in the week after jokingly stating the Lightning should “give the Canadiens just the smallest break, allow them to win one at home” on Sunday ahead of Game 4 in Montreal.
“I just feel that our team is so good and they outplayed every team that they were on the ice with. I just have that confidence in them and I just may have expressed that a tad prematurely,” she said.
Despite having to go to Game 5, Bolts fans were sure happy to celebrate a back-to-back championship win at home.
“Winning the Stanley Cup is wonderful. Winning the Stanley Cup at home is wonderfully sweet and everyone got to see that last night,” she said. “To be able to see the players hoist that Stanley Cup on our own ice was just nothing short of amazing.”
While many fans were hoping for a weekend celebration, it was out of the question as one key member of the Lightning wouldn’t be available… owner Jeff Vinik.
“The Vinik family has a son who is getting married on the weekend. We couldn’t have this parade without the person that made it possible… we’re going to make it on his schedule,” she said.
When asked what makes Vinik such a valuable member and great owner to the Stanley Cup champions, CEO of the Lightning Steve Griggs credited it to Vinik’s character.
“When you talk about Jeff Vinik, you’re talking about the most benevolent owner in pro sports. The best owner in pro sports. The best human in pro sports. And we’ve learned from him for the 11 years we’ve all worked for him is to always do the right thing,” said Griggs. “We do that in the community, we do that with our fans, our sponsors… It’s always about doing the right thing and doing it in a world-class manner.”
City of Tampa officials provided some public safety tips Friday ahead of the boat parade.