With the NHL lockout all but over teams are now devising unique ways to win back fans. They weren’t the only ones that might have lost our trust though, as players also had a say in negotiations. With that being said, it only makes sense players would help their teams try to gain traction with fans.
As was recently announced, the Florida Panthers have launched a “7th Man” initiative geared toward fans. Today the Panthers’ cross-state rival, the Tampa Bay Lightning, released a special season ticket membership sure to catch their fans eyes. Beginning today (Jan 9) and running while supplies last, this membership offers 200 terrace level season tickets for only $200. (Source: Tampa Bay Lightning)
Meanwhile, Lightning players held an informal practice session at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon, FL. While the team looked good on the ice, the big story was their overall willingness to interact with fans. Now, it’s understood some players will always give back to fans no matter the circumstances but what I encountered today was more than that as players were more than happy to help create lasting memories.
In case you were wondering, I did make the trip to Brandon this morning with a friend. It took an hour each way but seeing the players in person for the first time since April 2012 was beyond amazing. At the very end of practice, as players skated off to the locker room area, someone next to me asked Steven Stamkos if they could get a photograph with him. Stamkos replied by saying “Sure. No problem.” Realizing that was my chance, I decided to push past my fears and ask him for a picture myself. I was given the same response. That kind of shocked me (just because I’d been trying to get a photo with him for the past three to four years with no real luck) but I was also quite excited.
Anyways, I got the photo which can be seen on my Facebook and Twitter pages. My advice to fellow fans is if you want to get a photograph with players find out where they hold public practices and then, after practice, ask nicely if they’d be willing to take a picture with you. Hey, it worked for me as I received a memory which will last a lifetime!