To think that it has been a decade since the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup is a little remarkable. Even the Stanley Cup-winning captain, Dave Andreychuk, is shocked.
"It's so hard to believe it's been 10 years already," Andreychuk said.
Now, the memories of the Championship that brought an entire community together can be relived as the anniversary draws near.
Lightning Chairman and Governor Jeff Vinik will host Hockey 101 on Sunday, March 16
This Sunday, fans can come to the Tampa Bay Times Forum beginning at 11 a.m., for a free event to celebrate the Bolts' 10th anniversary of winning the Stanley Cup with an event called "Sunday with Stanley."
"For our fans to relive that moment," Andreychuk said. "Sunday is a great day to do it.
"Fans should relish the fact that this organization won a Stanley Cup."
Upon arriving at Ford Thunder Alley, located on the west side of the Times Forum, fans will receive a warm welcome from members of the 2004 Championship team and the Stanley Cup itself starting at 11:30 a.m. with photo and autograph opportunities.
Then the doors will open at noon so everyone can participate in an exclusive opportunity to interact with Lightning Chairman and Governor Jeff Vinik, as he gives a Hockey 101 session on the massive LightningVision board in the arena along with Andreychuk. The pair will also answer questions following Hockey 101. Soda, water and popcorn will be served for free during the presentation.
"I don't think you're going to get this opportunity, like Jeff is doing, from any ownership in any professional sport," Andreychuk said. "Jeff is excited too to be around the hockey atmosphere and to be able to interact with our fans on that day. He hopes they are all just as excited and that it will be a day they'll always remember."
Vinik has always wanted to show the Tampa community that he is not the type of owner who is going to run his team from a far and this is just one of the many ways he is getting involved.
"He wants to be hands on," Andreychuk said. "He wants to grow the game, to talk to fans and continue to grow our fan base."
After Vinik and Andreychuk wrap-up the Hockey 101 session, fans can re-live the magic of Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final on one of the biggest video boards in all of North American professional sports (approximately 3 p.m.).
"You'll be able to witness with your kids what it was like in Tampa Bay at that time because some of them might not remember," Andreychuk said.
While watching one of the biggest moments in Lightning history on the big screen fans will also be able to skate on the same ice the Bolts skate on each and every day for free.
Immediately following the open skate two father/son hockey clinics will also be offered by the Lightning's community hockey department at 5:15 p.m.
The fun starts early as kids are welcomed to play street hockey on Ford Thunder Alley at 11 a.m. At the same time, the team store will be open and offering discounts to all fans. A used hockey equipment sale will take place on the arena's promenade level starting at noon.