Only six players on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s roster have played in an NHL outdoor game — so for many of the Bolts’ players Saturday night’s Stadium Series game is a unique experience.
For team captain Steven Stamkos, an outdoor game brings back childhood memories of playing the game on frozen ponds in Canada.
“That is where I spent the majority of my time, my birthday was in February,” Stamkos told ABC Action News sports anchor Kyle Burger. “So every birthday party I can remember was on the pond. The invite said wear your long johns, bring you skates and your stick. Pizza and hot chocolate. Those were the best memories I had was growing up on the pond. At least here, you don’t have to worry about falling through the ice.”
The team got a feel for the outdoor ice with one-hour Friday night practice and a post-practice family skate. The temperature in Nashville was close to freezing by the time practice ended.
“It was cold,” head coach Jon Cooper said. “The big gripe was that I ran practice too long, they had to sit there and watch it in the cold and I should’ve had family skate first.”
“These are what you soak up as a father and you want to give a glimpse to kids at what your job is like,” defenseman Ryan McDonagh said.
The puck drops inside Nissan Stadium between the Lightning and Nashville Predators is 7:30 p.m.