Wednesday, September 24, 2008
One of our favorite events during the Lightning's training camp is the annual IceFest for fans. Like most NHL teams, it's a day designed to get fans excited about the return of hockey.
Between the games and festivities for children, an early look at the team and the opportunity to score some autographs, it's no surprise that the IceFest draws a good number of fans to the St. Pete Times Forum.
That doesn't mean, though, that you have to stand in long lines to get a couple of signatures.
Following our formula to put ourselves in the right place at the right time with only a handful of other hounds, Colin had another awesome day of hounding, thanks to Lightning players young and old.
Using a team sheet, drawn on the ride over from St. Petersburg, he scored a cool dozen autographs, including some from established NHLers Andrej Meszaros, Adam Hall and Mike Lundin. As always, the players get a kick out of these, asking him whether he made the sheet or commenting upon his artistic abilities.
The jersey, however, was a different story. After a couple hours out in the Sunday morning heat, the cool relief inside the Forum was a little too much. Rather than spend $35 for a long-sleeve Lightning shirt, I snagged a used Lightning practice jersey for the ridiculously low price of $25 for him to stay warm.
Later, as we attended a season-ticket-holder-only event, which provided tasty Cuban sandwiches and pizza as well as much shorter lines for autographs, he was able to get such Lightning notables as Dave Andreychuk, Chris Gratton and Shane "Popeye" O'Brien to christen the jersey.
Not bad for a kid, eh?