Tampa Bay Lightning to host 2018 All-Star Game, STM ticket availability to follow

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 /

It’s official: the Tampa Bay Lightning will host the All-Star Game next season. Why has it taken so long for the NHL to bring it back to Tampa? What does this mean for the Bolts’ home, Amalie Arena, and what impact will it have on the city?

Last night, the rumors were confirmed: the Tampa Bay Lightning will play host to the mid-season spectacle that is the NHL All-Star Game in 2018, according to the NHL’s PR department. First reported two weeks ago by Yahoo! Sports, the scuttlebutt was that Bay are would host the All-Star Game for the first time in nearly two decades. Now Bolts Fans know these rumors to be true.

"“We are looking forward to bringing the 2018 NHL All-Star celebration to the Tampa Bay area,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “In addition to the events on the ice, we’re planning outside activities which will embrace the Tampa Bay community and Gasparilla events — as well as the Florida sunshine. We know Jeff Vinik, the Lightning and AMALIE Arena will be outstanding hosts as the NHL family gathers for our mid-season showcase.”"

So why bring the All-Star Game to Tampa Bay? Perhaps a better question is why it’s taken so long to bring the All-Star Game back to Tampa Bay. The Lightning last played host to the ASG in 1999; in the time since, the city has hosted two Super Bowls (with a third, Super Bowl LV, scheduled for 2021), two editions of the NCAA’s Frozen Four, the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship, and even the Republican National Convention. Needless to say, the Lightning’s home town has proven it has what it takes to host big events.

Basically, it was only a matter of time before the NHL All-Star Game made its way to Amalie Arena. Maybe that’s what happens when you put Jeff Vinik’s name on the lease.

"“(Vinik) has been pushing for everything,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told the Tampa Bay Times on Monday. “He wants to bring the world, not just the NHL, to Tampa. We wouldn’t be in position to bring a major event to Tampa if the team weren’t in strong shape and if the building were not in first-class condition."


Jeff Vinik has had a laser-focused vision for his Tampa Bay Lightning and its city ever since rescuing purchasing the team in 2011. He’s assembled a world-class front office, which has, in turn, assembled a competitive team for the foreseeable future and cemented hockey’s rightful place in Tampa.

"“We are thrilled to host the 2018 NHL All-Star Game at AMALIE Arena,” said Jeff Vinik, Chairman and Governor of the Tampa Bay Lightning. “We’ve worked hard over the past several years to transform Tampa Bay into a hockey market. The honor of hosting the All-Star game validates that work, but it’s not the end of our efforts. We pledge to work alongside the NHL as well as leaders across Tampa Bay to deliver a world class experience for All-Star players, fans and partners.”"

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s ticket sales department sent an email to Bolts season ticket members immediately after the official announcement was made. The email confirmed that STMs will have the opportunity to purchase seats for the NHL All-Star Weekend and that full details — including  pricing, availability of seats, seat location and access to purchase tickets — will be released later in the summer.

Related Story: A Tampa Bay Lightning All-Star Game Retrospective