The Lightning only have four home games during the month of February, but fans should be able to sate their hockey appetite on Sunday, February 15th, when the team hosts Hockey Day in Tampa Bay.
Participating in the festivities will be former Lightning head coach John Tortorella, his first appearance at Amalie Arena not affiliated with another organization since may 2008 when he was relieved of his coaching duties with the Lightning by previous ownership.
"I have to admit that when I approached him I told him I had a series of things I wanted to talk with him about related to community hockey. I said 'I'm fully prepared that you may tell me to, um, forget about it' (laughs) but he was great. He immediately agreed and I knew he would. The thing that people don't realize about John Tortorella is that as hard as he can be as a coach and that gruff public persona, that when it comes to charity, he's eager to get involved. And in this case it's two great things. One is the fact that he's coaching a high school all-star group, and he loves kids. The other one is with part of the proceeds going to the fallen officer's (Tarpon Springs police officer Charles Kondek) family, that makes a huge difference. John is a big supporter of the people who defend and protect us. Police, firefighters, military. So he immediately jumped at that. and it is special. It's exciting to have him here. I think it's gonna be a lot of fun. I think the fans will enjoy it and I know the people who are participating will have a good time with it." - Jay Feaster, Executive Director, Community Hockey Development
There will be a full slate of participatory and spectator activities, beginning early in the morning with street hockey on Ford Thunder Alley outside of the arena and concluding with a watch party for the Lightning's game at San Jose facing off later that evening (full schedule of activities below). In between, there will be high school and college games as well as the Battle of the Badges, featuring local firefighters and police officers along with Lightning alumni. Raw Charge's own David Baldwin will be participating in the sled hockey game against Dave Andreychuk and the Lightning alumni. The Lightning will also be selling used equipment throughout the day.
Events taking place on Ford Thunder Alley are free. Admission to events held in the arena are $10 with all proceeds going to Sun Coast Law Enforcement Charities, Inc., benefiting the family of fallen Tarpon Springs Officer Charles Kondek, and the Lightning Foundation, benefiting the Lightning Sled Hockey Program.
HOCKEY DAY IN TAMPA BAY SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
- 8:00 AM - Street hockey (Ford Thunder Alley)
- 10:15 AM - Arena doors open
- 11:15 AM - University of South Florida vs University of Tampa
- 1:45 PM - Sled hockey vs Tampa Bay Lightning Alumni
- 3:15 PM - Lightning Conference High School All-Star game
- 5:00 PM - Battle of the Badges (Firefighters vs Law Enforcement Officers)
- 7:00 PM - Lightning Cup (Lightning Conference high school championship)
- 8:30 PM - Tampa Bay Lightning vs San Jose Sharks watch party