Graphic: Kevin Flannery
By Phil Wunderlich
Tampa is once again proving that it is a hockey town. It was announced on the 29th that we will be hosting the 2018 NHL All Star weekend. The last time Tampa has held an All Star game was back in 1999 when Wendel Clark
went for our respected team.
Gary Bettman stated in his latest press conference that, “We are looking forward to bringing the 2018 NHL All-Star celebration to the Tampa Bay area. In addition to the events on the ice, we’re planning outside activities which will embrace the Tampa Bay community and Gasparilla events, as well as the Florida sunshine. We know Jeff Vinik, the Lightning and AMALIE Arena will be outstanding hosts as the NHL family gathers for our mid-season showcase.”
Vinik responded, “We’ve worked hard over the past several years to transform Tampa Bay into a hockey market. The honor of hosting the All-Star game validates that work, but it’s not the end of our efforts. We pledge to work alongside the NHL as well as leaders across Tampa Bay to deliver a world class experience for All-Star players, fans and partners.”
Vinik has in fact worked very hard in expanding the hockey market to Tampa, as he has invested over $90 million dollars to the Arena and $13 million dollars to the local charities. And the teams’ recent success of going to the Eastern Conference Finals last season and to the Staney Cup Final the season before has clearly helped the expanding of the team fan base as well.
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June 1st, 2017