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Why Tampa Bay doesn't deserve a hockey team

Written by
Chris Bourg

Starting tonight, the Blackhawks will play in their third Stanley Cup final in six years when they take the ice against the Tampa Bay Lightning. If you're not familiar with the Lightning don't worry, nobody else is either—not even people in Tampa Bay. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that those people down there don't even deserve to have an NHL team in the first place. Here's why:

Hockey is a cold-weather sport: The average daily temperature in Tampa floats somewhere around 80 degrees all year long (as opposed to Chicago, where it was 45 degrees outside on June 1). In that climate, it's something of a miracle that the people of Tampa can even create ice in the first place, much less maintain a hockey rink for the duration of a season. It's also surprising that their fans don't freeze to death when they enter the arena, given the problems people in warm-weather areas encounter any time the temperature dips below 65 degrees.

Their sweaters are hideous: Tampa Bay's primary sweaters (For you jorts-clad swamp denizens in Florida, that's the proper term for "jersey" in hockey) are a cartoonish lightning bolt that look like a rejected superhero costume, and their alternate design just has the word "Bolts" emblazoned across the chest. If a kid wore clothes with either of those designs on them to the first day of school they'd definitely get beat up, kind of like what the Hawks will do to the Lightning in this series. Compare those designs to the works of art the Blackhawks wear and it's embarrassing that the two teams have to share the ice at the same time.

The fans are the worst: In Florida, professional sports teams are treated as an afterthought by people who are far more interested in SEC football and covering up crimes committed by Florida State University athletes. Despite having won a Stanley Cup championship in 2004 and experiencing success since then, the Lightning are no different in this regard. The few fans they have will be in for a rude awakening when Chicago fans invade their arena for every game held in Tampa.

The organization is run by amateurs: By now you've likely seen the story that the Lightning front office have taken explicit measures to prohibit the sale of tickets to Blackhawks fans as well as not allowing fans to wear Blackhawks gear in certain sections of the Amalie Arena. This ridiculous and bush-league policy was also implemented by the Nashville Predators, but didn't work because their stadium was still filled up with Chicago fans and the Hawks ended up winning that series anyway. By creating and enforcing rules like this, Tampa Bay is admitting that they have failed to build up a fan base large enough to fill up their stadium during a freaking Stanley Cup run and have to resort to desperate measures in order to preserve whatever home ice advantage they may have had. This move will only serve to rile up Blackhawk fans more, and since half of Florida's population is comprised of Chicago transplants, you better believe they'll come out in full force after this little stunt.

Cue "Chelsea Dagger" and prep the streets downtown for another parade. 

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