When Weather Threatens Hockey

Fans that watched the Winter Classic of the 2010-2011 season (featuring Capitals vs. Penguins, for those that don’t remember!) could see that weather was affecting the game.  You could see the rain melting the ice, causing water to build up and the players to learn how to swim and skate at the same time.  But we only have one game that is played outside of a year, one game that can be really affected by the weather.  For the most part, hockey fans are able to watch the game within the chilly domain of the home arena, safe from weathers harm.

However, sometimes weather can affect the game indoors, too.  When we had the blizzard in D.C. back in February 2010, Caps fans still faced icy conditions and inches of snow to see their team face the Pens (they must bring bad weather with them…).   More than likely, whenever someone thinks about weather affecting hockey, thoughts will turn to snowstorms in the northern parts of the States or to Canada.  But what about hurricanes in Florida?

Before its path was pushed towards the Gulf of Mexico and over to Louisiana, Tropical Storm Isaac was projected to hit Tampa, Florida.  The NHL has two teams based in Florida: the Florida Panthers, and the Tampa Bay Lightning.  The Lightning’s arena is the Tampa Bay Times Forum in downtown Tampa Bay, an area that is susceptible to flooding in the case of violent storms.

As things turned out, the storm changed course and no preparations were needed to face the storm.  Brain Breseman, Media Relations Manager for the Tampa Bay Lightning, had this to say on the hurricane’s potential affects on the team’s arena.

“The organization kept a close eye on the storm, but this is something we are accustomed to being in Florida. Should circumstances been different, the appropriate preparations would have been made [to the arena].  There was no flood threat and no one was evacuated. Regarding training camp, we would make an assessment based on any situation and act accordingly. ”

The Republican National Convention just hosted their festivities in the Tampa Bay Times Forum without a hitch.  It’s good to hear that the arena is safe form the storm, and ready for hockey.  Now it’s just time for the NHL to figure out the CBA so hockey can be played there.

For information on how to prepare for a tropical storm: http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes

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