Wednesday, February 27, 2008

End Of An Era For The Local Hockey Team

Tonight, Bicycle Stories journeyed to the hockey arena in downtown Tampa to catch the new-look Tampa Bay Lightning. Nearly four years ago, I was working on the news side of the local newspaper while covering the Lightning's historic march to a Stanley Cup championship in 2004. But this week, the Lightning traded the hero of that championship run, a popular fella by the name of Brad Richards, amid some major changes like a potential new owner trying to buy the club.

Tonight, some fans still could not part with their Richards' jersey -- the number 19 sweater.

Even with a popular player such as Richards gone, the show must go on. Here's the Lightning mascot -- ThunderBug -- getting ready to hit the ice before the game between the Lightning and the Minnesota Wild (that's the actual nickname).

A bit alarming tonight was the hundreds of unoccupied seats. There was a subdued feeling in the building, as the Lightning lost to the Minnesota Wild by a score of 3-2. It seemed like fans were trying to adjust to the Lightning's new players.

On the way to the arena, I saw a car parked by the county office building with a bicycle-theme tag and this sticker.

Uh-oh. Our bicycle friend's car got ticketed by the Tampa parking gestapo. Looks like the driver better drive his bike downtown next time to avoid the ticket hit.


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