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Watch What You Wear

The NHL Playoffs are at a fever pitch and the Tampa Bay Lightning hit the ice tonight for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Championship at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Just like last year, the Lightning are making an effort to create a solid home ice advantage by limiting the apparel of Pittsburgh fans in the stands. The Bolts look to continue their success of keeping away jerseys and colors to a minimum throughout the arena. This, like so many other things people do now a days, has plenty of people upset and are throwing a temper tantrum over. Many fans feel they should be allowed to wear whatever, whenever, and wherever they what. For the most part I can understand their frustration and gripes regarding these rules. If you want to pay the money to go see your team play, by all means we will take your money with a smile and you can have a blast. Except during the playoffs. This town loves hockey and it shows in the seasonal attendance. 97% capacity every night is something no one would have thought possible 24 years ago when this team was created. During the playoffs, having that home ice advantage is something that teams feed off of, and can get behind and really make a difference in the way a team plays the game. What people are not understanding is the fine print on the limitations for the away gear. There are only 3 areas where these rules are implemented, The Chace Club, Lexus Lounge and the first two rows on the ice. These rules are set in place by the Lightning organization for many reasons, one of which Executive Vice President of Communications Bill Wickett explains. “Those are three season-ticket only private areas, and those are spots that our season ticket holders have asked us not to let visiting apparel in.” That’s less than 10% of the seating capacity at Amalie. Typically only Tampa natives have season tickets and this doesn’t really effect the mass majority of those that are complaining. This is one of those cases where someone is told they cant do something, then someone ELSE gets offended for them. You don’t hear the out cry from Nashville Predator or Ottawa Senator visitors do you? Or the Arizona Diamondbacks in the MLB? They all have recently put restrictions on away colors in their home venues, and that was regular season games. We are talking about the Playoffs here folks. We are a transplant state, we understand that, even embrace it. However, right now isn’t a time for us to be a melting pot. It is a time to scream as loud as we can when that horn goes off and the Tesla’s are firing and everyone around is thinking the same thing. This is Hockey Bay USA, home of the Tampa Bay Lighting! We are the thunder! GO BOLTS!

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