Last year around this time, give or take a few days/weeks, the Tampa Bay Times Forum converted from a post-Republican National Committee Convention set-up to that of a hockey venue once again.
The only complication with that was there was this little financial disagreement between the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players Association. That sort of scuttled the whole shebang and even with a fresh sheet of ice, fans were simply left wanting until 2013.
Well, that type of complication ain't gonna' stop things this year. Starting tomorrow morning, Times Palace goes in-season with the laying of a fresh ice surface. From the team:
The process begins at 9 a.m. as the Times Forum staff will begin laying down a base coat of water on the concrete floor. Then at approximately noon they will start painting it a base white color. Around 2 p.m., they will begin painting all the hockey markings, followed by putting another layer over the painted ice.
The ice at the Times Forum will get broken in on September 4 and 5 when the Lightning will hold a pair of practices in preparation for the Coral Springs Rookie Tournament in which the team's prospects are participating.
Speaking of those prospects and that open practice at Times Palace:
For anyone attending prospects camp Sept. 4-5 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, practice on the 4th is 12:30 p.m. Practice on the 5th is 11 am.— Damian Cristodero (@LightningTimes) August 27, 2013
This - the ice surfacing and rookie camp - marks the start of the 2013-14 season, even if training camp hasn't started - the process of becoming is on the threshold. While local beat writers reported former Bolts being at the Ice Sports Forum participating in pre-camp workouts, it'll soon be the regular cast of characters that fans have been aching to see since last April with the close of the 2013 season.
Quit asking if it's October yet, people. It's almost September, the magic starts now.
One other note for tomorrow (August 29) at the Forum: A part-time jobs fair will be conducted in the building.