To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the St.Pete Times Forum, TampaBayLightning.com looks at the top 15 hockey moments, and the top 15 event moments, and captures some thoughts from key people who lived these moments.
Top 15 Lightning moments at the St. Pete Times Forum
- June 7, 2004 – Winning Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals
- October 5, 2005 - Raising the Stanley Cup Champions banner in front of a record crowd of 22,120
- October 20, 1996 - First game ever played at the St. Pete Times Forum, a 5-3 win over the NY Rangers
- January 24, 1999 – The St. Pete Times Forum hosts the 1999 NHL All-Star Game
- October 25, 1998 – Vincent Lecavalier scores his first career NHL goal against the Vancouver Canucks
- May 4, 2011 - The Lightning complete a four-game sweep of the Washington Capitals in the 2011 Eastern Conference Semifinals
- February 17, 2009 - Steven Stamkos records his first NHL hat trick against the Chicago Blackhawks
- April 10, 2010 – Steven Stamkos scores goals #49 and #50 against the Florida Panthers
- May 22, 2004 - Lightning advance to the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Final with a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals
- April 8, 2004 – Nikolai Khabibulin records the first playoff shutout in team history against the NY Islanders
- November 15, 2003 - Dave Andreychuk records his 250th power-play goal to set an NHL career record in a 4-2 win against the San Jose Sharks
- May 25, 2011 – The Lightning win their fourth consecutive elimination game of the 2011 postseason to force a Game 7 against the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals
- November 8, 2002 – Vincent Lecavalier records his first career hat trick in a 9-0 win over Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins
- March 31, 2011 - The Lighting clinch a playoff spot for the first time in four years with a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins
- April 3, 2007 – Vincent Lecavalier scores his 52nd goal of the season, which still stands today as a single-season franchise record, in 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Top 15 Event moments at the St. Pete Times Forum
- Garth Brooks – Sells out four consecutive performances
- Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus has record-breaking runs from 2000 to the present day.
- U2's inspirational performance in 2001.
- Bon Jovi plays to over 85,000 fans in the building over the course of four tours from 2003 to the present day.
- Tim McGraw sings with the Stanley Cup on stage at sold out concert in 2004.
- Hundreds of volunteers fill the west plaza to collect supplies for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in 2005.
- The Rolling Stones perform their second of two sold out performances in 2005.
- AC/DC makes an unexpected appearance on stage with Billy Joel and Elton John in 2006.
- AVP Pro Beach Volleyball hits the Forum grounds in 2007.
- The St. Pete Times Forum hosts the ACC Basketball Championship in 2007.
- Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band perform for the first time years in 2007.
- The women's Final Four Basketball Championship is played at the arena in 2008.
- Elton John and Billy Joel play to a sold out crowd in 2009.
- The Forum hosts three great acts including Celine Dion, The Eagles and Dane Cook, drawing thousands upon thousands of guests during Super Bowl Week in 2009.
- Roger Waters performs "The Wall" in 2011.
Top Memories from Current Lightning Members
On his favorite memory playing at the St. Pete Times Forum:
"Well definitely my first career NHL game in 1998 when I played against Chicago. Then I would have to think back to the Stanley Cup year in 2004, playing in Game 7 against Philadelphia and of course Game 7 of the Final against Calgary. Those are some amazing memories for me. You never forget those."
On the changes he has seen in the St. Pete Times Forum over the years:
"It's a beautiful arena from the outside since it is by the water. In Florida, with the palm trees and nice weather there are people wearing shorts to the games, which was something I had never seen before I got here. It has gotten better. It's brighter inside and when you walk in it's a cool feeling coming from 80 degrees outside into the cold. It gets you ready to play."
Martin St. Louis:
On his favorite memory playing at the St. Pete Times Forum:
"Winning the Cup in '04 was an unbelievable experience in that rink. Also playing two Game 7s, the atmosphere was crazy in both the Conference Final and the Stanley Cup Final. To me that's my ultimate experience."
On the atmosphere in the St. Pete Times Forum throughout the years:
"I've seen both sides. We've had some not so good years and we've had some great ones. Obviously you remember the great ones. When you don't win in this league it's hard to sell tickets, but it's nice to see where we are right now as a team and a franchise with the big shine we have in the community. That translates right into the atmosphere at the Forum."
On his thoughts of the 15-year anniversary of the St. Pete Times Forum:
"It's great. I'm happy with everything they've done to it. The renovations look phenomenal. It's kind of like a re-birth of the arena. The Lightning are the only team I have ever played for, so every time I step onto the ice in the arena it always feels like home. I'm glad I'm still a part of the organization and that I have an opportunity to celebrate 15 terrific years."
On his favorite memory of playing at the St. Pete Times Forum:
"Playing my first game here was special and then to be able to win the Stanley Cup here. We got pretty lucky because a lot of times other players and other teams win the biggest games of their life on the road. I think it's the feeling of being at home when you skate on the ice in front of thousands of screaming passionate fans. It's my favorite place to play hockey so that's why I love it here."
On scoring the first-ever goal at the St. Pete Times Forum:
"It was special. The Rangers were in town, not long after they had won the Stanley Cup. The building was packed with a sellout crowd of over 20,000 fans. What an opponent to have for your first game at your new building, lining up against Gretzky, Mark Messier, Mike Richter and Brian Leetch. I scored the first goal and the place erupted. Gretzky actually scored the second goal, so that was pretty cool too."
On recording his first NHL goal at the St. Pete Times Forum:
"I was a member of the New York Islanders at the time, which makes it a little strange that we play them tonight on the night of our arena's anniversary. It was a fun time for me and so far my greatest memory about this building. It's funny how things work out."
On being a part of the 15-year anniversary celebration:
"It's always fun to be a part of history, you know? It's a nice arena. Mr. Vinik, Mr. Leiweke and Mr. Griggs gave the Forum a great birthday present and a nice facelift."
On how the atmosphere in the arena compares to other NHL buildings:
"The night of our home opener, when all of us were introduced before the game, the fans were really involved and it seems like they're extremely passionate about hockey and the Lightning. The changes they've made to the building this past summer make it a really great place for both the fans and the players. It's probably one of the nicest in the entire NHL."