TAMPA — The pandemic didn’t keep Lightning fans from filling chairs and barstools across Tampa Bay Saturday night.
“They’ve got to have it this year, they’ve been so close so many years, they’ve got to have it this year,” said fan Dan Raynes.
Fans watched every pass, every shot, every hit like it was for the Stanley Cup Saturday night, and that’s because it was.
“Adrenaline is going, heart is pounding, I just want them to win,” said fan Andrea Davis.
Many of these fans didn’t even live in Tampa the last time the Lightning hoisted the Cup back in 2004.
“Used to be a Bruins fan, lived down here so long I am now a bolts fan,” said Raynes.
They say 2020 has been a rough year and it would be nice to have something to celebrate.
“I think it would be really good for the city, I mean we are supposed to have the Super Bowl, who knows if that’s going to happen,” said Davis.
Other fans say no matter what happens against Dallas, they owe a big thanks to the Lightning for providing some much needed entertainment these last few months.
“It’s definitely been like a mental break for sure, working at home it feels like the walls are going to cave in every once in a while, so it’s just nice to watch the game, get out, and have something to eat and a drink,” said fan Rocco Ragano.
While the manager of the Press Box said the Lightning have been a huge financial lift for their longtime sports bar.
“We reach our capacity before the game even starts and if they are not playing it can be a ghost town in here,” said George Marino.
The Press Box loves the money the bolts bring in, but also acknowledges there is a pandemic happening and they take the health of their staff and customers very serious.
“We count everybody in and out the whole entire time, we have a strict number we abide to, and we have to keep under that number,” said Marino.
At one point Saturday The Press Box did reach the 50 percent capacity threshold and they started turned people away from the inside portion of the restaurant.
Tampa police officers were also seen walking into the bar and making sure they were in compliance.