Lightning taking extreme measures to ensure home-ice advantage
Home-ice advantage is important because players can thrive off of the energy their fans provide through loud chanting and cheering. Fans have always shown their support for their home team by wearing their team’s colors. Perhaps, the idea behind “white-outs” is it can be intimidating for opposing players to look into the stands to a sea of white. However, are the Tampa Bay Lightning trying too hard to push these home-ice advantages into their arena?
It seems like it has progressively become more and more embarrassing each series with how far they are willing to go to ensure “home-ice advantage.”
It all began in the first round against the Detroit Red Wings when the Lightning announced that the only way you could purchase tickets is with a credit card attached to a Florida address. If the tickets were purchased with a credit card without a Florida address the purchase would be cancelled and issued a refund without notice. Lightning Spokesman, Bill Wickett said the team doesn’t feel the need to apologize to limiting the number of opposing team fans to Amalie Arena. The Tampa Tribune reported that loud groups of fans from Chicago, Montreal, Winnipeg and Detroit have attended Lightning games this season, which is apparently the reason for these ticket restrictions.
In the second round against the Montreal Canadians, the Lightning became even more proactive in pursuing an all-dominant Lightning fan-base. One Montreal fan tweeted this picture saying “look at this picture. They made me take my Subban jersey off or I get kicked out.”
Now against the New York Rangers things are starting to get out of hand. Lightning fans are reportedly calling security and even the police to rat out Rangers fans in their section. Lightning fans also took to Twitter to notify Tampa Bay that there were still Rangers fans that were supporting their team.
Restaurants and hotels have to be furious about these new policies that are ultimately preventing out-of-state fans from visiting Tampa Bay to support their teams.
It’s not just the Tampa Bay’s organization that should be embarrassed for what is going on, but also the fans that are taking it way too seriously. It is ridiculous that fans are actually taking time during a hockey game to call police to remove a fan that is simply cheering for an opposing team. Fans should be there to enjoy hockey and have fun supporting their team. There’s nothing better than gloating to those cheering against your team the whole game after your team wins. Friendly trash talking has always been a part of sports and there’s no reason to take it out of the game now.
Jeremy O’Neill covers the NHL for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @MFSTJeremy