Now that Tampa’s bush with Hurricane Irma has passed by, clean up from the storm has begun. Hopefully, Amalie Arena, home of the Lightning, wasn’t impacted to a degree that requires any major work.
During the storm, the Florida Panthers home, the BB&T Center, hosted out-of-state recovery crews while Germain Arena in Estero (where the Lightning had been scheduled to host a rookie tournament) was open as southwest Florida’s largest emergency shelter. In Tampa, Amalie remained closed, not out of callousness, but because it’s location right next to the Garrison Channel is in an evacuation zone - which their social media team pointed out on Sunday:
We are in the Zone A evacuation zone for Tampa, which has been under a mandatory evacuation due to our location on the channel.— Amalie Arena (@AmalieArena) September 11, 2017
In preparation for the storm, the building cancelled a Chris Tucker/D.L. Hughley event that was scheduled for the 8th and remained closed throughout the weekend, with plans to re-open the box office (located on ground level) on the 12th.
Several residents and fans drove by the building Monday morning and reported that it did not appear the building suffered much damage to the outside:
Good news Bolts nation AMALIE ARENA IS ALIVE pic.twitter.com/kv7CGxj1ec— Jake (@DanielJRicker) September 11, 2017
Drove past it on the Crosstown. For a brief glimpse, looked good.— Mike Gallimore (@mikegallimore) September 11, 2017
With FanFest scheduled to take place on Saturday the 16th, the organization should be releasing official information on its status shortly. Raw Charge reached out to the Lightning and had not received a response at the time of publication. The story will be updated to reflect any information received. [UPDATE - The Lightning confirmed that there was no major damage to the arena]
As for the area’s other major sports stadiums, the Tampa Bay TImes Marc Topkin tweeted that Tropicana Field made it through the storm safely as well. The Rays are currently playing the New York Yankees at Citi Field in New York after the team and the league relocated the series that was supposed to take place in St. Petersburg.
Initial word from #Rays is that Tropicana Field made it through Hurricane intact, no major damage or flooding, all staff appears safe (more)— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) September 11, 2017
Raymond James Stadium was a staging point for U.S. Marines who were brought in to help with possible recovery efforts and also appears to be OK per reports. Local author Tim Dorsey captured the amphibious vehicles rolling through his neighborhood on Saturday.