That's right, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be facing their minor league affiliate the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL which is considered the next best tier of hockey below the NHL. This will be an exhibition, preseason game that will take place on September 25th at 7:00PM EST at the Norfolk Scope Arena. This is a pretty unique event that will give the community and hockey fans of Norfolk Virginia a chance to experience a franchise playing against each other. Although there will be a winner and loser at the end of the game wouldn't it be something else if the Norfolk Admirals some how put one up on their NHL affiliate the Tampa Bay Lightning, not that we need to be the laughing stock of the hockey world news any more than we have been over the past year.
As a huge fan of the Tampa Bay Lightning and putting on a such a special event that is really an in house game of hockey, this will really give every player in the organization from top to bottom to go out there and prove a point and make a statement if they deserve to play for the Lightning and how much they want it. I'd imagine the scouts will be watching closely to see who is out there to make a lasting impression.
Not to judge this event too early and it seemingly it being a great idea, I would love to see this match up here in Tampa next year and potentially making it a staple in the Lightning's franchise as the Winter Classic has become in the NHL. If the new owners and management of the team wants to really reach out to the community as they have shown lately, they could give the fans an extra chance to learn about the team and the players that could be the future of the team as some of the players were last year and the previous few years coming up from Norfolk and making a name for themselves such as the following.
- #32 - Defense - Matt Smaby
- #39 - Defense - Mike Lundin
- #34 - Center - Ryan Craig
- #38 - Center - Paul Szczechura
The Admirals vice president Joe Gregory said this about bringing this one of a kind match up to Norfolk this year,
We are thrilled to be able to bring the Lightning to Scope for an exhibition game. It's been a long time since an NHL club has played an exhibition game in Norfolk. This game will be a terrific way to break in the ice at Scope. We appreciate the efforts of the Lightning in making this possible.
General manager Brian Lawton of the Lightning spoke of the event as well saying this,
We'd like to thank Ken Young and the Admirals for all they have done for the Tampa Bay Lightning and for granting us the opportunity to come play a game at Scope. The Admirals and their fans have established a deep hockey tradition and the Lightning are excited to further develop that by bringing NHL hockey to the Norfolk community with this preseason game.
Nothing is left to be said except three magic words... Let's! Play! Hockeeey!!!