Autographs, photos and fun are on tap for September 16th

On Wednesday the Tampa Bay Lightning announced two things. First, the rookie tournament that was scheduled to take place in Estero over the weekend was being moved to Nashville. Their second bit of news is that they released the schedule for their annual fan fest on September 16th at Amalie Arena.

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The free festival serves as a kickoff for the 2017-18 season and gives fans a chance to meet their favorite players for autographs and photo opportunities. In addition to the chance to interact with members of the team, the all-day festival will feature food trucks, a play area for children, used equipment sale and a chance to buy new merchandise. It’ll be a good chance to pick up the new Adidas-designed jerseys.

The festival is free, but fans do have to visit www.tampabaylightning.com/fanfest to obtain a free ticket. Attendees should make sure to download the NHL app before you go as it appears the fanfest will be set up as mobile tickets, i.e. a QR scan on a smartphone.

The first 10,000 fans to arrive will have a chance to meet a current member of the team either through an autograph session or photo opportunity. Most likely the autographs will be done on a voucher basis. So while fans will be guaranteed an autograph, they don’t have a choice of which player. Unlike last season, when roughly half the team was in Canada for the World Cup of Hockey, most of the players should be attending.

There also won’t be much roster drama hanging over the celebrations. Unlike last season and the Nikita Kucherov contract drama, all of the players are under contract. Fans will also have a chance to meet new additions Chris Kunitz and Dan Girardi.

According to the Lightning, over 11,000 fans attended last year’s event which was held at the end of the month of September.

Practices are usually held at Amalie Arena throughout the day that are open to the attending fans. The Lightning also stated that they will be accepting donations for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Owner Jeff Vinik has already announced that he, along with the team, is making a $1 million donation to the Red Cross.


Article first appeared on www.draysbay.com