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Lightning Round: Looking back at hockey in the ThunderDome, 25 years on

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And potential Seattle Expansion scenarios

Arizona Coyotes v Tampa Bay Lightning
TAMPA, FL - MARCH 26: Yanni Gourde #37 of the Tampa Bay Lightning dons a Tampa Bay Rays-themed jersey before the game against the Arizona Coyotes during first period at Amalie Arena on March 26, 2018 in Tampa, Florida.
Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

This was (just barely) before my time, but it’s been 25 years and a day since the Tampa Bay Lightning hosted an NHL playoff game in the famous Thunderdome. Hockey historian Mike Commito shared the memory on Twitter, noting the record attendance at the time of nearly 26,000. The Bolts also won the game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

I learned a lot about the Thunderdome while researching this. What a unique environment to go watch a hockey game in, especially in the 90s. [NHL dot com]

“The Thunderdome was really unique,” said former player Brian Bradley, now a community representative with the Lightning. ‘It was such a big, big venue, so wide. Some of the fans were a long way up. The seats weren’t like a hockey arena, they sloped at about a 45-degree angle. And it had kind of a carnival atmosphere. There was a lot of stuff going on in the background.”

In 2018, the Lightning did a tribute to the Thunderdome on their Rays-inspired special jersey where Bryan Burns talked about the wonders around the building. [NHL dot com]

“After spending the inaugural season inside Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds, the Lightning determined the arena was too small for hockey and moved across the bay to The Florida Suncoast Dome, which opened in 1990 in hopes of attracting a Major League Baseball franchise but didn’t have a full-time tenant, save for the Arena Football League’s Tampa Bay Storm.”

Lightning Links

At the site, I wrote about the final third of the season the Syracuse Crunch are set to play. Trade deadline additions (and players coming back from injuries) has really bolstered the lineup. [Raw Charge]

“Over the past week or so the Syracuse Crunch have gotten a significant boost to the player options in their lineup after the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers acquired depth options at the NHL Trade Deadline. Those acquisitions have taken time to show up in Syracuse thanks to COVID quarantines, roster shenanigans and such, but now looking at the roster, the Crunch are bolstered for the final 11 games of the AHL season.”

Ryan S Clark and Pierre Lebrun speculated possible trade scenarios for the Seattle Kraken. Lebrun got a little carried away with the presumed bounty the Lightning are going to have to give up. Johnson, Killorn, AND a first round pick? Please. [The Athletic]

“To me there’s a couple of interesting options: 1. The Kraken get Tampa’s first-round pick in the 2022 draft in exchange for committing to taking Johnson in the expansion draft. 2. Do you try to grab two Cup champion veterans off Tampa’s roster? Is the price to take on Johnson also getting the Lightning to trade you Alex Killorn on the side?”

The 2021 Women’s World Championships have been cancelled after the province of Nova Scotia, Canada had to implement new COVID-19 protocols. The IIHF is hoping to find a new home for the tournament in the coming months. There hasn’t been a major women’s hockey tournament in over two years since the 2019 Women’s Worlds. Meanwhile the men have had world championships, U20, and U18 tournaments, COVID or not. [CBC News]

“The IIHF and Hockey Canada announced Wednesday that they received confirmation from the provincial government of Nova Scotia that the championship in Halifax and Truro will be cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. Players were set to come from across Canada as well as the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Russia, Switzerland and the United States for the tournament running May 6-16.”