Hockey Etiquette at the Tampa Bay Times Forum


Mar. 6, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning players and fans celebrate after a scored goal during the second period against the Ottawa Senators at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Ottawa Senators defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-3 Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

I love hockey.

I love watching hockey.

I especially love watching the Tampa Bay Lightning play hockey at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

I don’t love listening to business meetings going on behind me while the game is going on.

Hockey games involve some of the most violent behaviors this side of the human cockfighting that is mixed martial arts, so one doesn’t normally associate manners with potentially brutal contact sports.  However, one can reasonably expect some common consideration amongst its (mostly) civilized spectators.

I’m not talking about the coach wannabes that “encourage” various team members out on the ice, nor the obnoxious I-just-had-my-first-beer twenty-somethings who feel the need to solicit attention to themselves.  One has to expect those at sports events.

I’m talking about you, Mr. Businessman, who insists on headhunting potential employees or wooing potential clients while sitting in the seats right behind me and talking THROUGH THE WHOLE GAME.  LOUDLY.

And not about the game. Oh no.  About anything and everything not even remotely to do with hockey.

Now, we all know how the seats at the forum are angled to give us as good a sight line to the ice as possible, so when someone sits behind you and starts chatting, that conversation is directed right at the back of your head as they are looking down at the ice.  I certainly don’t expect anyone to halt all conversations, but come on.  If you want to do business or you’re feeling a little more social, take advantage of the various party decks and bars located on all levels of the Forum, such as the Bud Light Party Deck or the delightful new open-ice viewing areas at the corners of each level which Mr. Vinik so generously provided.  You can even sit at tables and glance at the big screen occasionally to catch up on the score!

If you must carry on endless conversation in your seats, please keep your voice at lower levels and not yell so that your neighbor can hear you over the roar of the fans.  I paid to hear the game, not how proud you are that your daughter works at Hooters (actual conversation behind me at last Thursday’s game. Eww.)

And stop kicking my seat.  It’s not there for you to prop your smelly feet up on, drum along with the beat, or knock against in protest of too little leg room.  Last, but certainly not least, remember the first rule of hockey etiquette:  Do not move to or from your seats while the puck is in motion on the ice.

All I’m asking for is a little common courtesy, something that is becoming more and more uncommon.

Thank goodness it’s not like the World Cup with its vuvuzela horns…or those Whos down in Whoville with their noise, noise, noise!

Happy Holidays, everyone, and Go Bolts!