Location: Tampa Bay, Florida
Address: 401 Channelside Drive Tampa, Florida 33602
Capacity: 19,204 (Hockey)
Parking: Parking prices vary per event.
Year Opened: 1996
Previous Names: Ice Palace, St. Petersburg Times Forum, Tampa Bay Times Forum
Occupants: Tampa Bay Lightning
A new era of Tampa Bay hockey dawned in 1996 when the Lightning completed construction on the Amalie Arena. Originally called the Ice Palace, the venue is situated on the waterfront of Hillsborough Bay next to the Tampa Convention Center and the Florida Aquarium. Because of this prime location, there's no shortage of restaurants and nightlife surrounding the building, as well as a kid-themed zone where youngsters can play before the game. There are plenty of amenities and concessions throughout the 19,758-seat arena, but be sure to try the Cuban sandwiches - they're a Tampa specialty and fans should definitely try one when they're at the arena.
The Tampa Bay Lightning entered the league in 1992 and experienced some growing pains during their first few years. After a few middling seasons, the Lightning finally made the playoffs in 1996 and were pitted against the Philadelphia Flyers. Although the Lightning got off to a quick start, the Flyers rebounded to take the series in six games. But, by the mid-2000s, the Lightning finally put it all together on the ice.
The Lightning won the championship in 2004 when they posted an Eastern Conference-best record of 46-21-8-6. Led by the Hart Trophy winner Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards, the Lightning made quick work of the New York Islanders and the Montreal Canadiens in the first two rounds, and then won a pivotal seven game series against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference finals. In the Stanley Cup Finals, the Lightning's high-powered scoring attack was on display against the Calgary Flames. The series would prove to be extremely competitive, and the Flames couldn't overcome the solid defense of goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. The Lightning triumphed in seven games.
Along with being a dynamic place to catch a sporting event, the Amalie Arena also brings world-class live entertainment to Tampa Bay. High-grossing tours such as Duran Duran's Medazzaland tour, Aerosmith's Twenty Four Seven tour and Alice in Chains' 2010 North American tour and many others have played the St. Pete stage.
With its picturesque location, ease of access and a full slate of sporting events and live shows on the docket, the Amalie Arena has something for everyone.