Tampa Bay - December 29, 2011
Want to find the best way to feel right at home down south? Come to a Tampa Bay Lightning game in December. With so many Quebec snowbirds and Habs fans flocking to Florida for the holidays, it’s hard to walk through the St. Pete Times’ concourse without hearing the familiar “Olé” chants ringing through the halls. Here’s a small sampling of some of the jersey-clad fans who made the trek to Tampa to cheer on their team in person. Way to represent, guys!
Pay a visit to the Bell Centre for a game and you’re bound to notice the bronze statues of Canadiens legends adorning Centennial Plaza just outside the front doors. A few thousand kilometres south, Tampa has its own version of urban art decorating the path leading up to St. Pete Times Forum. This 75-foot triple-pronged lightning bolt statue has been welcoming Lighting fans to home games since 1997 – although it looks a lot more festive when the plaza is packed for the pre-game tailgate party.
The NHL’s annual Winter Classic provides players with an opportunity to relive some of their favourite childhood hockey memories. While the Habs won’t be playing in the great outdoors this season, they still managed to channel their inner Atom players in Tampa Bay, suiting up in full gear – minus skates – to board the team bus heading for the practice facility. Looks like the days of riding in mom’s minivan to the rink at 6:00 a.m. aren’t so far behind them afterall…