our night with the tampa bay lightning

On Saturday afternoon, my phone rang, and it my friend Melissa, offering us her husband’s tickets to the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game that evening. hockeygame2Technically, she was offering the tickets to my husband, knowing that he’s a HUGE fan, and would be able to appreciate the great seats they had. Yes, not only was Melissa offering us free hockey tickets, but they were just a few rows up from the ice, RIGHT behind the Lightning bench. Even I can appreciate how good those tickets were!

Unfortunately for Jim, he was working, so I decided to take the tickets and take our 8 year old son. He’s been to a few hockey games with his dad, but because Jim’s season tickets are WAY up in the nosebleed section, he wasn’t in a hurry to go back. He said it made his stomach a little queasy to be up so high. I knew he’d love to sit down low, right at the ice, so I made plans to meet Melissa to pick up the tickets, keeping it a secret from my son.

That night, I told him I had a surprise planned, and we drove down to the Ice Palace…uh, excuse me, St. Pete Times Forum. :eyeroll: Once he realized that we were in the parking garage, he guessed where we were going. hockeygame1There was a lot of action going on outside the forum, and that’s where we snapped this photo of Matthew with the Tampa Bay Lightning team mascot Thunderbug. There were also several of the Lightning cheerleaders out there, but Matthew refused to pose for a picture with any of them! (He’s at that age where all girls, even hot “hubba hubba” cheerleaders, are icky and may potentially be carrying cooties.)

Once we got inside, he was surprised once again when he realized we weren’t sitting up in the cheap seats! Our seats were AMAZING – six rows up from the bench, with a clear view of the Lightning players and coach. Matthew’s eyes were as big as saucers when he saw the players enter the ice for their warm up. I was even impressed at how close we were to Vinnie Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. Too bad Brad Richards wasn’t playing! The game is a completely different experience when you’re sitting so close, and I was stuck by how graceful the skaters were. It’s amazing how they move so carefully, at such high speeds. And being that my son has played on hockey leagues, and follows the Lightning, he was able to see all of his favorite players up close and personal, and he kept telling me what was going on in the game, and why certain penalties were given. He knows a LOT about hockey!

During the 1st intermission, they did the “Kiss Cam” on the big screen scoreboard. They would focus on a couple, wait for the couple to notice that they were on the big screen, and then the couple would kiss. Aww! They featured a couple right in front of us, so Matthew and I were on the Jumbotron by default! That never happens when we sit up in our nosebleed seats.

When the 2nd intermission started, I noticed that the seats at the end of our row were empty…and they were directly next to the pathway that the players use to go into the locker room. I pulled Matthew over there and he was able to stick his fist through the barricade so that the players could bump fists with him. He had 3 or 4 of the players reach out to touch him, and he was absolutely over the moon.

I made this short video (below, under pictures) to show some of the action we saw, and you can also see Matthew leaning in to touch the players. Thanks again Melissa & Marshall! Your tickets really created a night that Matthew and I won’t forget!

My boy, Vinnie Lecavalier:


And Martin St. Louis:


The view of the Lightning bench from our seats:


2 Responses to “our night with the tampa bay lightning”

  1. Mel says:

    That friend of yours sounds awesome! Ha!

    It’s a shame that your husband was not able to go. I am sure that he would have loved it! I will call you the next time we can’t go and maybe even give you more notice!

    I am glad your son had fun!

  2. Loretta says:

    That was awesome! Look at his bright eyed smile, so priceless. Great pics :)