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Devils trip to Florida, my experience


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#81 PWW

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 08:13 PM

LD just digging himself deeper. Lawd.

 

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#82 DevilMinder

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 09:27 PM

Calm down you two.


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#83 Martyisth3b3st

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 09:29 PM

I feel compelled to reply to this since I am a die-hard Devils fan but have lived in Florida for the past 15+ years (1 hour from Tampa).

I will start by saying I have been to Florida's current arena one time. I paid a pretty hefty price for 2 tickets and drove 3+ hours each way during our 2012 Cup run. My father and I sat in the 200 level a few rows up behind one of the nets, and I didn't think the view was bad at all. It was probably better since I was higher up, but overall I thought the stadium was pretty nice too. The atmosphere was kinda jumping for a playoff game, and even though we lost that game 3-0 I still had a good time. No fans gave me a hard time despite wearing my Devils jersey (it was red so I probably blended in with the other home FLA red jerseys). I thought having Brooklyn Water Bagel inside the stadium was pretty awesome too since it's hard to get good bagels around here.

Oh and did you happen to see the tons of memorabilia on display on one of the concourses? There was a ton of jerseys, equipment, and photos from previous Panthers players, and they even had some generic NHL stuff and also some of their minor league affiliates which I thought was also cool. It was nice to go down memory lane and remember the Panthers players from when the franchise was first established. I give props to them for trying to a build a loyal fanbase this way since they're still in their infancy and don't exactly have a rich heritage yet. Certainly no major accomplishments in terms of post-seasons success besides the 96 season, so it's gotta be hard for the front office and/or management to really do much to keep people excited and interested, but they're trying.

Leaving the stadium that day wasn't too bad if I remember correctly. I think it was a weird 6:30 start time or something during the playoffs so the game was over by around 9, which gave just enough time for us to make the 3 hour drive home and be back around midnight. The worst part really was that the arena is kind of in the middle of nowhere. They do have a huge mall just across the street so we actually drove up in the morning and went to that during the day, but if you aren't doing that then I agree it's kind of in a weird location. Overall though I'd say it's not too bad.

As far as Tampa is concerned, I agree that their overall fan experienced, in terms of outside fan affair, as well as the pre-game material, is second to none. It really is incredible. Hell even their commercials on TV for season tickets and advertisements on the radio are amazing. Their production staff is just really talented and creative. It all starts with the yellow "lightning" bolts outside of the stadium when you walk up which have been a staple of the team for as long as I've lived there (maybe since the team was founded, I'm not sure). They also just put like a life-size statue of the founder, Phil Esposito, outside the stadium which I think was pretty sweet, and apparently they are constructing a HUGE statue of Dave Andreychuk in the near future too. (I was pissed that we lost a game that we needed for the playoff hunt, and I was also a little drunk, so I was actually messing with my friend and telling him I wanted to take my jersey off and put it over the statue of Phil and take a picture lol) They have really done some major improvements to stadium, which not only include the insanely impressive and massive scoreboard as you mentioned and also the things that do shoot real lightning (how cool is that?), but if you had seen the way the stadium looked before, it went through an enormous overhaul.

For starters, they changed out almost every single seat in the arena and replaced them with cushioned and more comfortable ones, regardless of section or price. They also opened up the 1st level areas like you mentioned and put some standing-only bar areas for you to enjoy the game from the concourse level which is nice. And they also removed a big section behind the net in the 300 level for the Coors Light bar area and the GIGANTIC organ. I don't like how the organ plays the national anthem, but it is still a pretty cool sight.

I don't know if you made it to the Bud Light Party Deck which is on the 300 level outside, but it is fvcking sweet too. They have $2 drafts after every game which is sick and on most nights when the weather is nice it is a great place to grab a few drinks and kick back after a win.

Regarding the hotels and meeting the players, that is very awesome that you got to meet so many players and personnel. When I was a young teen, probably 13, 14 or 15, a good friend of mine and I used to go to games early and try to get autographs. We would wait around back by the Lightning player's parking lot and although it was easier to catch them after the game walking to their cars, occasionally we would catch guys on their way in if we got there early enough. We also would go over to the Marriott and try to catch the visiting players walking over as well. It's tough because as you said some of them walk, and others take the bus. Also, nowadays a few other hotels have sprouted up which I think you mentioned (one is across the bridge) -- my good friend that I just mentioned actually works for the Lightning in corporate sales now (imagine that), and he did tell me that teams actually stay at pretty much one of three different hotels, so it is a little tougher to try to meet and see guys now since they aren't all just at the Marriott the way it pretty much was 10 or so years ago.

I have loved (played, and watched) hockey for nearly 25 years and it is my favorite sport above all others and the Devils are by far my favorite team above the others too (Giants, Mets), but I have to say the Lightning have made it very easy for me to root for them as my 2nd favorite team and adopt them as the "hometown team" since I cannot attend Devils games from where I live today.


Really awesome post! Sorry I hadn't had time to reply yet. Yeah, we went to the bar after the game, it was really cool! And the bagels in the stadium are the only bagels I'll eat in Florida!

Calm down you two.

He is out of line and uncalled for.
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#84 Neb00rs

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 09:35 PM

Really awesome post! Sorry I hadn't had time to reply yet. Yeah, we went to the bar after the game, it was really cool! And the bagels in the stadium are the only bagels I'll eat in Florida!
He is out of line and uncalled for.

 

Agreed. Marty didn't do anything wrong.


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#85 Daniel

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 09:52 PM

Agreed. Marty didn't do anything wrong.


This is true. Get Real just doing his best to get under everyone's skin.


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#86 Martyisth3b3st

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 11:25 AM

This is true. Get Real just doing his best to get under everyone's skin.


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I don't care about that, but when he sh!t talks my girlfriend I have a real beef. DM deleted that whole thing a minute after it happened
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#87 thecoffeecake

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 11:57 AM

What a dumbass you can't even take a good clear picture. She should bolt but then there is the money.

What the hell is this guy's problem
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#88 Martyisth3b3st

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 04:55 PM

What the hell is this guy's problem

:shrugs:


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