There’s no beer coating the floors of the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The leather chairs in each level are pretty cozy, too. No griping about attendance, no whining about the early season performance and certainly no cursing the owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It’s different across the Bay.
Ice hockey would seemingly not belong in a hot, humid swamp like Florida. Baseball, basketball and football would fare at least a little better in the tropical heat.
Yet the Lightning has more reasonable turnouts and no blackouts.
The Lightning don’t justify with being a young organization, starting in 1992. They don’t blame the fans, either. Instead, the Lightning step up their marketing and immerse themselves in a community that may not have lusted for their presence in the beginning but follow in die-hard droves.
It might help that head coach John Cooper is a positive thinker with a teamwork mentality. It might be great that the Lightning can slow down the top goaltender in the league, Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick. It could be incredible how Lightning veteran Vincent Lecavalier has scored over 900 goals in his career and just happens to be likeable, too. It might even be better than owner Jeffrey Vinik is charitable and immersive in the community.
The Lightning makes hockey a sport for anyone.
Now that’s the sort of attitude that maybe the Buccaneers and the Rays could learn from.