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From the back of the Closet: A 1993-94 Tampa Bay Lightning game program

From time to time I’ll dig into the back of the closet and find some piece of Lightning memorabilia to feature.  Today I’ll look at a program from the 1993-94 Tampa Bay Lightning season (the first season to be played in the Thunderdome).  Apologies that some of the photos are cut off, the program was a bit awkward to manipulate in the scanner.

The cover:

Without looking – who is that player?




If you were able to identify Danton Cole you, my friend, are a true Lightning fan.  Cole played for the Lightning in parts of three seasons before being traded along with Shawn Chambers to New Jersey for  Ben Hankinson and Alexander Semak. This wasn’t exactly the greatest trade in Tampa history, although Hankinson does have a connection with one of the greatest trades in Lightning history.

Follow along with me here:

After Hankinson was traded to the Lightning, he played 18 games with them before being traded to Detroit, with Marc Bervevin, for Shawn Burr and a third-round pick in the 1996 draft. Those third-round draft pick rights and a conditional draft pick were traded to Boston (who used it to draft Jason Doyle)  for David Shaw and a conditional pick.  Three years later David Shaw, Bryan Marchment and a first round pick were traded to the San Jose Sharks for Andrei Nazarov and a first round pick.  That first round pick that Tampa acquired was used to draft…..Vincent Lecavalier.

The cover of the program advertises that it will contain, “Inside Each Issue: Lightning Player Feature, NHL Player Feature.” It lives up to its promise by featuring an article about Mikael Andersson (Lightning Player Feature) and it actually features two additional NHL players: Brian Leetch and Felix Potvin.

There is also a poster inside.  We’ll get to that in a bit.

Full Page Advertisement:

Look at the 90s oozing from this page, from the jacket (and haircut) Terry Crisp is sporting, to the phone he’s holding in his hand. Yes, back in 1993 it was a big deal to have a phone that had “Unlimited Weekend Calling.”

It also says something about the 90s team that the head coach is the one hawking goods in the magazine. There are two ads that feature a “spokesman.” This one, and another for the Cheval housing community with the tag line, “Look who followed Phil home from work!” It has team head shots of 10 players that “followed” the GM to live in Cheval.  Wonder if there was some back-end deal between the builders and the GM to entice players to live there?

Jai Alai:

Yes, this is probably only important to me, but a reminder that Tampa once had a Jai-Alai Fronton made me sad.  I gambled away a lot of laundry money at that place during my college days.

Ticket Information:

How do you lay out seating for a hockey game inside a stadium built for baseball?  Well, here ya go.  Eight dollars to get in and a fifty would get you on center ice.  Notice the lack of sponsorship for the “Lord Stanley Club” section.  No wonder this team was broke all the time!

Team Photo:

Gerard Gallant had one of the best mustaches in team history.

League Stats from the previous season:

I included this just to make everyone feel sad about the lack of scoring in the modern NHL.  Heck of a season for Mario Lemieux – 160 points in only 60 games.  If treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma hadn’t halted his season for two months starting in January he could have made a serious run at Wayne Gretzky’s single-season records for goals and points. A friend of mine who is a Penguins fans swears that Lemieux’s run when he returned from the absence was the greatest stretch of offense he’s seen in 30+ years of being a fan.

Poor Pat Lafontaine had one of the greatest offensive seasons in history and was smoked by a guy who missed 24 games. And look at the young Finnish Flash, Teemu Selanne.  Will Patrick Laine keep scoring and challenge Selanne’s record?

You may notice that several of the leaders are shown playing in 84 games.  In 1992-93 and 1993-94 the season was expanded by a few games with each team playing two games in non-NHL cities.  In their first year they played the Rangers in Miami and the Quebec Nordiques in Halifax, Nova Scotia (yes it was considered a home game for the Lightning). The next season they played Florida and Washington in the Orlando Arena.

Lightning Quiz:

Ten Lightning and NHL based questions that weren’t the easiest to answer. Feel free to turn your monitor upside down to see the answers.  Also, the page features the ever popular “Kick Ice” logo.

The Poster:

Fan Favorite Rudy Poeshek!  One side featured the player and on the back some game day notes.

This poster came from the December 18th meeting with the Boston Bruins. The Bolts dropped that matchup 5-3. Poeshek did not score and finished a -1. Chris Gratton, Pat Elynuik and Denis Savard scored for the Lightning.

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