Someone should put the NHL on notice; the Tampa Bay Lightning are dead serious about winning the Stanley Cup this year, and they expect their fans to be too. How serious you ask? So serious that if you buy tickets to the team’s playoff games this year and your credit card doesn’t have a Florida address attached to it, you’ll get a full refund for your purchase and not be allowed inside the building.
That’s right. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s powers that be are doing everything they can to keep fans of visiting teams from being able to attend the team’s games. Throughout the season, the organization noticed large and boisterous groups of fans from the Chicago Blackhawks, Winnipeg Jets, Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens in the building.
Lightning fans need not fret though, fans wearing the jerseys of visiting teams in the postseason won’t be allowed to sit in the Chase Club section of the rink. That means if you hope to watch Steven Stamkos and company while sitting in some of the best seats in the house this spring, you’ll need to consider purchasing some Lightning apparel. Of course here at Sports Jerseys Canada, you’ve got tons of options to choose from should you be heading south for a game, whether you’ve got your eyes on Stamkos’ number 91 or you’re a fan of Ben Bishop, Ryan Callahan and the other leaders of the team.
While it may surprise some that teams are even allowed to invoke such policies, there really is no clear rule against it, so Tampa’s sales staff can indeed refuse to sell tickets to anyone they choose, as long as the reason obviously isn’t related to blatant discrimination.
Good for the Lightning for taking a stand against tourists and fans of visiting teams who take away from the atmosphere in the arena. Home ice advantage is huge in the playoffs and the Lightning have not iced a real cup contender since 2004. This may indeed be the year that the team gets beyond the first round again and if the club does, the energy inside the Amalie Arena will no doubt play a factor.
Although Tampa’s first round opponent is still unknown, visiting fans should be prepared to sport a team jersey even if you do plan on rooting for the opposition. At least that will guarantee you access to the Chase Club section of the arena. What remains to be seen is whether this new team policy will translate into playoff success for the Lightning.