Tampa Bay Lightning to host 2018 All-Star Game? A Bolts retrospective

Amalie Arena, home to the Tampa Bay Lightning, may play host to the 2018 NHL All-Star Game
Amalie Arena, home to the Tampa Bay Lightning, may play host to the 2018 NHL All-Star Game /

According to ‘Yahoo! Sports,’ the deal is all but done for the Bolts to host next year’s all-star game, bringing the mid-season spectacle back to the Bay area for the first time in nearly two decades.

Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshinski reports that the 2018 NHL All-Star Game is expected to be played at  Amalie Arena, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"The Tampa Bay Lightning are expected to host the 2018 NHL All-Star Game, multiple sources with knowledge of the process tell Yahoo Sports.The deal hasn’t been officially announced, but barring a late setback the event will return to Tampa for the first time in 19 years.The team last hosted the All-Star Game in 1999, when Team North America – a collection of NHL all-stars, not our beloved young guns from the World Cup – defeated Team World at the Ice Palace."

In the nearly 20 years since Tampa Bay last had the honor of hosting the All-Star Game, Amalie Arena has undergone numerous changes. For starters, the name has been changed a handful of times; then called the Ice Palace, the facility’s naming rights were sold to the former St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times) and dubbed the Forum.

The home team has undergone significant changes in the meantime as well. Obviously there will be some roster turnover over a period of time, but the 1998-99 season was fairly significant, personnel-wise. Remember a guy named Vincent Lecavalier? That was his first season with the Tampa Bay Lightning, having been drafted first overall the year prior.

Inaugural captain Paul Ysebaert was still with the team in ’99, and Rob Zamuner was at the helm in his final season with the team. Bruisers Enrico Ciccone and Sandy McCarthy were still on the team, as were early Lightning favorites Cory Cross, Chris Gratton, Alexander Selivanov, John Cullen and Darren Puppa.

Perhaps the most significant change the building has gone is the addition of several banners hanging from the rafters. One of them reads “2003-04 Stanley Cup Champions.” Another related banner is emblazoned with “St. Louis 26.”

With the emergence of All-Stars Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman, hopefully the Tampa Bay Lightning will have some more banners to hang in the years to come.

Next: Lightning rumored to host 2018 NHL All-Star Game