Back in 2015, when the Tampa Bay Lightning played the Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, and New York Rangers on their way to facing the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final, the organization realized pretty swiftly that facing four Original Six teams in a row threatened to swamp our growing fanbase with an arena full of away team jerseys.
After a very red arena in round one, Amalie instituted an away-jersey policy in round two that angered a lot of away fans, but kept our arena supportive to the growing fanbase.
There were a lot of misconceptions about this policy. Let me tell you how it actually is.
First misconception: You aren’t allowed to wear the away jersey in the arena at all. False. You can wear your away jersey anywhere you want in the arena, as long as it’s not the Club seats. What are the Club seats?
Per the Amalie Arena Policies site:
Tampa Bay Arena, L.P. d/b/a Amalie Arena (TBA) has adopted the following Playoff Dress Code Policy (the “Playoff Policy”), which shall be in effect in the Chase Bank Club, the Lexus Lounge, and the North Party Suite (together, the “Club”) throughout the playoffs.
Do you want to wear your non-Lightning jersey to the arena? Great. Buy a ticket somewhere that is not a Club seat.
What is Club seating? You can see two of the Club areas below, the Chase Club and the Lexus Lounge. The North Party Suite is near the Vology Loge. Just, like, don’t sit in these places if you want to wear your away jersey. It is truly this simple.
Second misconception: You are forced to wear a Bolts jersey in the Club area. False. If you are an away fan, and really really want to sit in one of the Club seats, you can wear neutral clothing if you want. You don’t have to wear anything TBL branded, heck, you can wear a Canadian Tuxedo if that’s what you want to do.
It’s spelled out further in this section of the Policies:
Only Lightning-branded or ‘neutral’ attire and apparel will be permitted in the Club and the Club-designated seating areas during Lightning playoff games (including any pre-game and any post-game activities).
Third misconception: You will be kicked out of the arena if you show up in an away jersey. False. If you are an away fan who really wants to sit in a Club seat, and you have decided to show up in your away jersey, the arena is nice enough to give you a few options.
- Take off your away-branded items and coat check them with Guest Services. You will be given an unmarked black or blue shirt in return.
- Get a re-entry pass, go to your hotel and change, and return. You can also have a free unmarked black or blue shirt if you choose this option.
- Relocate your ticket to somewhere where there is no jersey restriction. This is a nice option! They’ll give you comparable seats in the right section, and you don’t have to change.
- Get a refund and go home.
Here’s that part of the Policy:
(i) check the Restricted Apparel with a member of the Amalie Arena ‘Guests Services’ staff (the “Check Option”) — As a courtesy, fans/guests/patrons that elect either the Check Option or the Re-Entry Option will be offered a gratuitous non-branded t-shirt for wear in the Club (either an unmarked black or an unmarked blue t-shirt, varying sizes available); (ii) obtain an Arena re- entry pass from an Amalie Arena ‘Guest Services’ staff member so that the Restricted Apparel can be placed in a vehicle, hotel room, etc. (the “Re-Entry Option”); (iii) have Club ticket(s) relocated to an alternate section of the Arena wherein the Playoff Policy is not in effect (the “Relocation Option”); or (iv) if the Impacted Ticket Holder purchased their Club ticket(s) directly from TBA or Lightning Hockey LP, request a refund of the amount paid for such tickets (the “Refund Option”).
So, y’all away fans got it?
Please go ahead and be mad, but you can seriously just pick a different part of the arena to sit in.