Forget "Is it October, yet?"; that mantra (repeated early and often since June) isn't as important as Friday. Friday is the start. Friday is the moment. Friday is the beginning.
Friday marks the opening of the Tampa Bay Lightning's 2010 training camp and preseason, with players reporting to the St. Pete Times Forum. Saturday and Sunday boast two open-to-the-public training sessions at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon and live radio coverage by WDAE radio in the morning, among other things.
The full press release, focusing on the weekend events at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum, is below the jump.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING READY TO OPEN 2010-11 TRAINING CAMP
Camp Highlighted by Open Practices, Autograph Session and Giveaways
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that it will hold its 18th Training Camp, presented by Florida Central Credit Union, on Saturday, September 18, and Sunday, September 19 at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Entrance into each day of camp is free and open to the general public, and will feature open practices, an alumni autograph session, giveaways and more.
Lightning training camp will feature 54 players, including returning veterans, fan favorites and top prospects who participated in Tampa Bay’s development camp from July 10-14 at the St. Pete Times Forum. Newcomers Simon Gagne, Dan Ellis, Brett Clark and others will join perennial NHL All-Stars Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis as well as Rocket Richard Trophy winner Steven Stamkos, defenseman Victor Hedman, forward Ryan Malone and goaltender Mike Smith. Overall, the 2010 Lightning Training Camp roster features 32 forwards, 17 defensemen and five goaltenders.
Highlights of Training Camp include Head Coach Guy Boucher leading an open practice each day from 10 to 11 a.m., with an intrasquad scrimmage following until noon. Fans will also be provided with the opportunity to receive autographs from Lightning alumni and special discounts on food and beverages.
In addition, there will be a live radio broadcast on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. which will air on 620 WDAE, recapping all the action from day one of camp. The Lightning will also conduct a free youth hockey clinic at 2 p.m. on each day, facilitated by former Lightning forward John Tucker. A session for kids ages 6-10 will be held on Saturday, while a second session for individuals ages 11-16 will occur on Sunday. Those interested in signing up may call the Brandon Ice Sports Forum at 813.684.7825 to register.
As an added bonus to scoring great seats, anyone making a season ticket purchase for the 2010-11 season will receive a complimentary Family Four Pack towards an open skate session and skate rental. All fans will receive an exclusive chance to win a free game of laser tag with the Bolt Brigade to be played at a time and date to be determined.
Fans are encouraged to arrive early for both sessions, as the first 250 individuals in attendance each day will receive a free Tampa Bay Lightning "All In" t-shirt.