TAMPA — Hockey doesn’t always need ice.
Tampa’s Rowlett Park has one of ten street hockey rinks built by the Lightning around the region to expose new communities to the sport.
“They are communities that some of them were going to maybe get shut down and we got involved. We restored a lot of things, spent some money," said former Lightning player Brian Bradley.
Kids at this camp played a little street hockey with Lightning staff members including Thunderbug in goal.
“The kids are involved and they are just out here having a great time. I’m sure they don’t care if we win or lose but they really love the Lighting and I think their most favorite player of all is not Vasilevsky, Hedman or Kucherov or Stamkos. It’s Thunderbug. That’s what it’s all about for the kids," said Bradley.
Inside where it’s much cooler, you can also see how the Lightning have contributed to this community center.
And the kids are showing their appreciation, making signs they will hang on the glass at Amalie Arena tonight during pre-game warm-ups.
“At the top, I was writing all the players' numbers to wish them good luck. Then I wrote 'Go Tampa Bay Lighting,'" said Aaliyah.
“I put 'Go Bolts,' and 'I hope you win.' And I said my name and can I please get a shout out to Rowlett Park," said Loyal.
None of these kids have actually been to a Lightning game in person.
But they are growing up exposed to the sport in different ways.
“I used to play hockey at my school. I was kind of good at it. But I’m still kind of working on it," said Aaliyah.
The kids each got their own sticks, so they’ll have a chance to score many more goals at home.