What probably took most people six seconds to realize it was a foolish move took the Tampa Bay Lightning six years. Since 2015, the NHL team implemented an absurd policy that surprisingly hung around until Friday. That’s when the team realized how foolish it was and finally let it go.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have overcome their struggles
For quite some time, the Tampa Bay Lightning weren’t very good. They failed to qualify for the playoffs in nine out of their first 10 seasons in the NHL. They surprisingly won the Stanley Cup in the 2003-04 season, but then suffered another stretch where the team missed the postseason five out of six years.
Tampa has recently become an NHL force. They won the Cup last year, and have played in two conference finals and another Stanley Cup since 2015. They are making another run at the Cup this year after having defeated the Florida Panthers in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Lightning have advanced to face the Carolina Hurricanes. Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour knows his team is up against a Tampa team that has it all. “There’s zero weaknesses,” Brind’Amour said, according to Bay News 9. “You don’t win a Stanley Cup without being the best at everything. And they got it all covered.”
Success has prompted the Tampa Bay Lightning to implement some foolish policies
Sometimes being successful leads to some odd decisions. The Lightning are a prime example. This is a team that has struggled to put fans in the seats, but things have changed ever since they turned into a winner.
When the team made the Stanley Cup Finals during the 2014-15 season, it restricted certain fans from attending postseason games. The Lightning blocked fans with out-of-state ZIP codes from making a purchase for any playoff tickets that went on sale. According to The Tampa Bay Times, the practice started during the 2015 playoffs as the team implemented strategies to maintain a true home-ice advantage.
They went even further.
The Lightning even tried to tell fans what they could and couldn’t wear to the games. They banned fans from wearing opposing team colors and sweaters in two premium seating sections: the Chase Club Level 4 and Lexus Lounge. Anyone who went to the game wearing the colors of the other team was told to put on neutral colors.
After an incident with an 11-year-old fan Friday night, the Lightning finally scrapped their wardrobe mandate
The Lightning have looked pretty good on the ice recently but not so good off it. During Friday’s game, two Tampa Bay representatives told a man and his 11-year-old son, they would have to change their wardrobe (the team would provide them with clothes). When the man argued his case that his son wanted to cheer for his team (the Panthers), the team employee threatened to get the police involved, according to The Tampa Bay Times.
A video of the incident made its way around social media. The team was mocked, and rightfully so. In the end, the man and his son helped knock some sense into the organization. The team told the Tampa Bay Times that it would no longer be enforcing that policy.
“After careful consideration, the Lightning have elected to relax its visiting team apparel policy in the premium clubs for playoff games at Amalie Arena,” the team wrote in a statement. “The policy was originally instituted in 2015 at the request of our valued ticket holders in those areas, but we realize we have grown as an organization and as a hockey market since that time and it is no longer necessary.”