TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning will host their annual Military Appreciation Night, presented by USAA, this Thursday, November 8, when the team takes on the New York Islanders at 7:30 p.m. (FOX Sports Sun, 970WFLA). The game will feature military-themed elements throughout, including on Ford Thunder Alley prior to puck drop. Through the Lightning's Seats for Service program, more than 2,000 service men and women from MacDill Air Force Base will attend the game at no charge.
Military Night, presented by USAA, will feature the return of USAF Technical Sergeant (Ret.) Sonya Bryson singing the national anthem alongside 100-year-old military veteran Robert McLintoch. All military members will be recognized in-arena with the special return of 92-year-old WWII veteran Cliff Zalay on the harmonica. Zalay stirred the AMALIE Arena crowd with his rendition of the national anthem last season. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and was a member of the Allied forces who liberated Dachau. MSG Zalay still works with Honor Flight, sending fellow WWII veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorial built in their honor.
In addition, the Lightning will honor other select current and retired military members throughout the night. There will be a Marines enlistment ceremony during the first intermission followed by a rappel demonstration from the rafters by SOCOM members. The Lightning and Chase will also give away a house to the family of one lucky military member.
On Ford Thunder Alley, fans will find a number of military vehicles to see up close and personal, including Jeep, Humvee and Trac unit. There will also be a "10 For The Troops" collection drive. They will be accepting items such as toothpaste, razors, socks, toiletries, beef jerkey, gum and more. Fans will also be able to show their appreciation with the "Saluting Our Heroes" banner on Ford Thunder Alley. They will have the opportunity to sign a large banner which will later to cut and distributed to military organizations.
Used sticks with camouflage tape will be auctioned off behind section 123, along with other camo signed merchandise. The players will also wear camo jerseys during pre-game warm-ups and give those jerseys to military members on the ice following the conclusion of the game. Camo jerseys and other merchandise will be available for purchase at the Tampa Bay Sports store inside AMALIE Arena. Forward Tyler Johnson will host a post-game meet and greet with special military members from MacDill Air Force Base.
AMALIE Arena staff who served in the military will be wearing "I Served" buttons and will be welcomed to the bench after the game for a group photo.