In celebration of their 20th anniversary, the Tampa Bay Lightning have created 20 Years Of Thunder, an interactive website where fans can vote for their favorite moment in the franchise’s history. The moments voted on will be revealed and featured in the upcoming season. On August 16th the website will change to where fans will be able to vote for their favorite player in the team’s history.
Wow. 20 years. In some ways it seems like the Bolts have always been here, as I can’t picture life with out Tampa hockey. In other ways, it’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years already. That makes me realize my age!! I was only 14 when the team took the ice for the first time. I was there, amazed by this new sport. Well, new if you’re a Florida girl. Now I have a son who will be 14 in 2 years. That’s just scary to think about!
12-6-1990 The NHL announces that Tampa wins the bid for a new team, 1 of 6 teams who placed a bid.
4-23-1992 Terry Crisp is named the team’s 1st head coach.
6-20-1992 Roman Hamrlik is the Lightning’s 1st ever draft choice.
9-23-1992 Manon Rheame becomes the 1st woman ever to play in the in 1 of 4 major sports leagues.
10-7-1992 The Lightning play their 1st game vs the Chicago Blackhawks. Bolts win 7-2.
2-6-1993 Brian Bradley becomes the first Lightning All-Star.
7-20-1993 It’s announced that the team is moving to the Florida Suncoast Dome, later named the Thunder Dome. It is now called Tropicana Field and houses the Tampa Bay Rays. (I still call it the Thunderdome.)
10-9-1993 The Lightning sets a single game NHL record for attendance with 27, 227. The record still stand for a an indoor single game.
4-18-1996 The Bolts get their first playoff win against Philadelphia, game 4 of the 1st round. The score was 2-1. That game had 28, 183 fans in attendance. That is still the NHL record for a postseason game.
10-20-1996 The Lightning move home and play their first game in the newly built Ice Palace. Brian Bradley was the first to score in the building.
6-27-1998 The Lightning drafts Vincent Lecavalier as the first overall draft pick, and Brad Richards in the 3rd round.
10-9-1998 John Callen returns after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He got the Bill Masterson award that year.
1-24-1999 Tampa hosts the NHL All-Star game for the 1st time.
1-28-1999 Palace Sports & Entertainment busy the Lightning.
7-31-2000 The Lightning signs Martin St. Louis
1-6-2001 John Tortorella is named the head coach.
2-3-2001 Fredrik Modin makes an impression at the All-Stars, recording a 102.1 mph hot and wins the hardest shot competition.
3-5-2001 Nikolai Khabibulin is acquired, along with Stan Neckar, from Phoenix.
2-10-2002 Jay Feaster is named the General Manager.
11-15-2002 Dave Andreychuk sets a NHL record for power play goals with 250. Retiring with 274, it’s a title that he still holds today.
11-23-2002 Dave Andreychuk scores his 600th goal, becoming only the 14th in NHL history to do so.
4-20-2003 The Lightning win their first playoff series in a triple overtime battle in game 6 against Washington.
4-27-2004 The Lightning win game 3 of the 2004 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals tying the series.
5-22-2004 The Bolts beat Philadelphia 2-1 to take the Eastern Conference Finals, advancing them to the Stanley Cup Finals.
6-5-2004 Martin St. Louis’ double overtime winner against the Calgary Flames.
6-7-2004 The Lightning win the Stanley Cup.
6-9-2004 The Stanley Cup championship parade and celebration.
6-10-2004 The Lightning make a splash at the NHL awards. Marty St. Louis was the 1st Bolt to win the Hart trophy, the Lester B. Pearson Award, and the Art Ross. John Tortella took home the Jack Adams, and Brad Richards was given the Lady Bing.
10-5-2005 The Lightning raise the Stanley Cup championship banner.
3-30-2007 Vinny Lecavalier scores his 50th goal of the season. He finished with 52, leading the NHL, and gaining the Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy.
1-24-2008 John Tortorella becomes the leader in games coached among American-born coaches with 507. He later becomes the all-time wins leader with 235 on 3-11-2008.
6-20-2008 The Lightning draft Steven Stamkos as the 1st overall draft pick.
3-3-2010 Jeff Vinik buys the franchise and becomes the lease holder to the St. Pete Times Forum.
4-10-2010 Steven Stamkos gets 50 goals. He won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy that year.
5-25-2010 Steve Yzerman is named General Manager.
6-10-2010 Guy Boucher is named Head Coach.
7-1-2010 Marty St. Louis signs a contract that puts him as a Bolt for the remainder of his career.
2-4-2011 The Transformation: New jerseys and logo revealed, Jeff Vinik makes a 5 year charitable commitment to the community, and Dave Andreychuk and Phil Esposito are both named to Vice President positions within the organization.
4-27-2011 The Lightning take the Penguins in a 3 game comeback in the playoffs, advancing them to the 2nd round.
12-31-2011 Phil Esposito’s statue is unveiled, making a landmark for the Tampa Bay area that will memorialize him forever. (This day is also special to my heart, as just before the unveiling, my husband and I were wed on the party deck. We were the first to do so.)
4-7-2012 Steven Stamkos records his 60th goal of the season, setting a Lightning record. He again received the Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy for leading the NHL in goals.
10-16-2012 ‘The Journey Continues’
On August 16th they will change the site to where you can no longer vote for the top moment, but for the top player in the team’s history.
I’d love to hear from you what moment(s) weren’t added that you think should have been. Personally, I think the homecoming of the team when the 2011 playoff run came to and end should have been added. That was a magical moment for both the team and the fans. I also the the end of #Stammergeddon last summer should at least be a notable mention!
It’s just another day in hockey paradise!
@HulaDolly @BoltsByTheBay @FanSided