Last year the Tampa Bay Lightning did not host an official draft party. We had a fan based party at Hattricks, with over 50 people in attendance, it was great. The Lightning helped us out by sending ‘goodies’ like rally drums, t-shirts, throw towels (They gave them away during the playoffs. I still say that they were given out to Lightning fans just in case Nathan Horton squirts you with a water bottle, that way you have a towel handy to dry your face) and some other fun things to give away. The highlight of the night was when Thunderbug himself crashed our party. They sent a representative in media to take some pictures and Tweet throughout the night. She had us fill out a paper that was going to the management with ideas that we had for the team. What we would like to see more of, etc… they wanted to hear what the fans wanted straight from us, the fans. The Lightning’s pick was late, and by time Coach Guy Boucher and Steve Yzerman were on the TV, we were all over anxious to see them and cheer. The rest of Hattricks (The hockey restaurant/bar in Tampa who hosted the party for us) about fell out of their seats. They had no idea what was going on. Some were startled, others started cheering and didn’t even know why! Some actually ended up joining us. Again I want to give a big shout out and thank you to The Lightning for taking over our draft party last year.
This year, however, the organization will be hosting it’s own 2012 NHL Entry Draft Viewing Party on Friday, June 22nd from 6-10pm at Champps Americana Sports Bar at International Plaza. The Lightning hold the 10th and 19th overall picks in the 1st round. Lightning radio will broadcast a special edition of it’s show, Lightning Hockey Night on AM 1250 WHNZ and streaming live online on both WHNZ.com and 620WDAE.com from 7-10pm. Rick Pekham and Bobby ‘The Chief’ Taylor, along with Dave Andreychuk and Chris Dingman, will be featured on the show. Lighting management and draft selections will participate with live call-ins, giving fans behind-the-scenes access to this year’s draft. WDAE AM 620′s Steve Duemig will broadcast his radio show live that afternoon from Pittsburgh, where the draft is being held, between 3-6:30pm. One fan will win a jersey of the first draft choice. Everyone in attendance will receive a free Lightning yearbook and will have the chance to win other prizes. There will be drink specials, as well as a visit by Thunderbug and the Lightning Girls.
Aside the draft picks, one of the hilights of the evening will be when they unveil their 20th Anniversary logo. Anniversary merchandise will be given away throughout the night.