Alert Guest Services! Tampa Bay Lightning and Fans show low tolerance to opposition fans

Tampa fans show their appreciation for the Rangers (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Tampa fans show their appreciation for the Rangers (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

The Tampa Bay Lightning have set the precedent here and their fans are taking it up to another level. A recent article in the NY Times highlighted exactly what the Lightning have been doing to ensure “as much of a hometown environment for the Lightning players and our season-ticket holders as we can”.

Those words come from Bill Wickett, the Lightning’s Executive VP of Communications and as he also said, “We’re not going to apologize for the policy.” Tampa claims that this policy of not allowing opposition fans to wear apparel supporting their team only impacts under 10% of the Amalie Arena. The Lightning have made this clear before you even buy a ticket.

The policies are clearly stated on the Lightning’s Ticketmaster site. One affects mostly season-ticket holders in the Chase Club and Lexus Lounge areas. “Please note that for all 2015 N.H.L. playoff games at Amalie Arena only Tampa Bay Lightning team apparel (or neutral) will be permitted in these club and adjoining seating areas,” the statement reads. “Fans wearing visiting team apparel will be asked to remove them while in these areas.” via NY TIMES

In addition to the policy, only Florida Residents can purchase tickets! One person verified this to me via Twitter. Since his credit card wasn’t attached to a Florida address it wasn’t possible, meaning he had to seek other means to get into the building.

Last night, I was notified of tweets sent out by Tampa Bay Lightning fans in attendance asking the team to address Ranger fans in their section. In other words, enforce your policy of zero tolerance.

via Twitter

via Twitter

 

Another fan, Jake Winderman was telling me that last night during Game 4, Lightning fans were calling security or police over to settle down Rangers fans in his section. “Basically, Ranger fans who were simply chanting back at Lightning fans and participating in normal fan interaction,” Winderman recalled. “Tampa fans had security and even the police called twice to our section [because of it].” Winderman did add that for the most part “everyone got along”.

This also took place in Tampa’s prior two series against Detroit and Montreal. One user posted himself sitting on his Canadiens jersey because he would’ve been removed from his seat had he kept it on.

This is an increasingly embarrassing situation for the NHL. While I fully understand trying to keep your arena stocked with your own fans, in a free market society it really isn’t just. Plus, it tells your fans that you do not have to tolerate the existence of others with an opposing view if you don’t want to. America does nothing but preach tolerance, shouldn’t its people and businesses do the same? This is all way to deep for a hockey game I might add.

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