As we anxiously await Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning, let’s explore the recent “ban.” In light of Tampa banning Blackhawks apparel in certain sections, while also limiting the sale of tickets to only Florida residents, where does this leave us fans? It leaves us in the dark. However, as Blackhawks fans, no one can come between us and our hockey—especially during the Stanley Cup Final.
Tampa Bay Lightning Restrictions
As they have all playoffs, the Lightning are blocking out-of-state credit cards from purchasing tickets through the team’s online ticket portal. This strategy was created to prevent an overwhelming presence of opposing fans from entering the area in order to maintain a home-ice atmosphere (As Blackhawks fans we understand the home-ice atmosphere). And, this puts the icing on the cake—the Lightning are also prohibiting spectators from wearing opposing team apparel in the Chase Club and Lexus Lounge areas.
We might be a little sensitive because we did face similar barriers when the Chicago Blackhawks faced the Nashville Predators, but we found a way past that didn’t we? Since the resurgence of the franchise almost a decade ago, we often find that we are pushed into a more expensive secondary market to get out-of-state tickets—we’re still willing to pay. After all, Illinois residents have already accounted for about 19 percent of tickets purchased on StubHub for Game 1 so far—Go Blackhawks fans! Chicago fans are well known for invading opposing stadiums and we plan on continuing to do just that. So, Tampa Bay Lightning, you can keep those areas—the Blackhawks fans will find a way to show their never-ending pride for their team.
Rahm Emanuel Strikes Back
Not that we have to prove how classy Chicago and the Blackhawks’ fans are, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel decided to fire a slap shot back at the Tampa Bay Lightning for trying to keep Blackhawks fans out of Amalie Arena. He may have even gone as far as calling the franchise, “Chicken.” If you ask me, those sound like fighting words and we are prepared to fight.
Emanuel stated that, “Chicago Blackhawks supporters are known to be among the best in the NHL, and certainly, we wish the Tampa Bay Lightning management would welcome Chicago fans to their city and not be afraid to let them into their arena for the Stanley Cup Final.” Well, I definitely agree with you on that Rahm Emanuel! We are some of the best and most devoted fans in the NHL, and it wasn’t without its battles. The Chicago Blackhawks brought the love of hockey back to Chicago and we plan on keeping it that way.
He went on to say that, “As mayor of Chicago, I welcome Tampa fans—and hockey fans from around the country—to fly to Chicago and enjoy our world-class hotels, restaurants, cultural attractions, and then go watch Stanley Cup hockey in Chicago.” Go ahead, we dare you. No, really, come visit Chicago and enjoy the Stanley Cup Final!
While the Tampa Bay Lightning might be putting forth their best efforts to keep Blackhawks fans out, they better try harder. As Blackhawks fans, we won’t give up without a fight. I’m excited to see just how many Blackhawks fans manage to make their way into Amalie Arena tonight. I bet they are louder than ever before!