The Tampa Bay Lightning are not the only ones kicking off the start of a new season.
On Sunday, October 30, 20 teams from Tampa Bay Area regional high schools will also open their campaigns as well as they participate in the second annual Lightning High School Hockey Jamboree at the St. Pete Times Forum. Each team will receive the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to skate in two games on an official NHL rink as the Bolts help usher in the official start to the 2011-12 high school hockey season.
A matchup between Berkeley and Jenkins will drop the puck on the start of the tournament at 8:30 a.m., while a final contest pitting Bloomingdale against Gaither/Sickles will wrap up all the action at 6:45 p.m. Among the most notable matchups of the day involve two-time defending champion Manatee High taking on East Lake at approximately 9:30 a.m. and again at 2 p.m. A pair of games between Freedom High and Mitchell also highlights the day’s schedule.
In just its second year, the Lightning High School Hockey Jamboree is looking to build off the successful debut it enjoyed a year ago, in which approximately 2,500 family members and friends attended the inaugural event to the tune of a lot of positive feedback.
In addition to Sunday’s jamboree, the organization’s youth hockey program also has other great events planned with a goal of growing the game among Tampa Bay’s youth and ensuring that the sport receives proper recognition in the Bay Area.
The first of two Lightning Made youth hockey clinics took place at the Times Forum this past Wednesday, where kids ages 6-16 learned the fundamentals of the game such as shooting, passing and skating from two-time All-Star and Bolts alumnus Brian Bradley. Another session has already been set for later in the spring. Certain game nights are also reserved for Mite Intermissions, when youth players aged 6-9 years old scrimmage on the Times Forum ice at the designated breaks in play of home games throughout the season.
The Lightning Cup will conclude the 2011-12 high school season in February, when the top two teams from the Lightning Conference’s West and Central Divisions will face off at center ice of the St. Pete Times Forum to battle for the conference championship.
The exciting youth hockey schedule set for the upcoming season continues to emphasize the Lightning’s commitment to growing the game of hockey among teenagers in Florida. In addition, it continues to show its dedication to community hockey initiatives through a more hands-on approach, with the goal of promoting the game across all demographics throughout the Tampa Bay area.
“We expect a fantastic turnout of the High School Hockey Jamboree and hope the event will be indicative of our future community youth hockey initiatives coming up later on in the season,” Bradley said. “On behalf of the organization, we’d like to thank all the athletes and their families for taking a passionate interest in the game. To date, they have made our past initiatives a huge success.”