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Lightning Celebrates Its Back-To-Back Stanley Cup Wins With Boat Parade

 Jim Doley (right) and his wife drove over from St. Petersburg sporting foam hockey puck hats.
Jim Doley (right) and his wife drove over from St. Petersburg sporting foam hockey puck hats.

Before a storm ended the party prematurely, the Tampa Bay Lightning and their fans once again celebrated a Stanley Cup victory on and along the Hillsborough River.

A boat parade was held Monday, allowing the Lightning to show off their second consecutive NHL championship.

Fans celebrated with spontaneous chants of "Tampa!" "Bay!" and "Champa Bay," a nod to the city's recent success in sports championships: two Stanley Cups; the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Super Bowl victory in January; last fall's MLB World Series trip for the Tampa Bay Rays, and a USL Soccer Championship berth for the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Along the Riverwalk, a group of friends had a tin foil replica of the cup that they filled with alcohol and shared with passersby.

“This is the real Stanley Cup,” said Trevor Fox.


The day involved plenty of alcohol for fans and players alike.

Some people tossed beers from boats to spectators standing along the Riverwalk.

At one point, teammates Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn took the Stanley Cup for a ride on a jet ski.

Members of the team partied with fans at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, until a strong afternoon thunderstorm brought the festivities to an abrupt end.

Earlier, Lindsey Diaz and her young sons who play hockey waited for some of their favorite Lightning players, like goalie Andrei Vasilevsky.

“My little one was jumping up and down screaming at the end of the game and then Vasy won MVP and he started crying and was like, ‘I can't wait to see him! I'm so proud of him,’” said Diaz.

Area resident David Cruz pumped up the crowd as he talked about the Lightning's success.

“What team is better than us goalie-wise, right, left wing, and center?” said Cruz as nearby fans cheered. “Let’s go baby, back-to-back, what’s up? Let's go Bolts!”

On the water were players and friends, a lot of law enforcement, and local dignitaries like Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

The big moment of the season for Colton Billett was watching similarly-named Lightning player Ross Colton score the only goal of Game 5, which secured the championship.

He said he couldn’t make it to any of the games this year but loves that the city offers chances to cheer the team on as a community with events like the boat parade and watch parties throughout the season.

“You can’t beat it, it’s just one of the best places to live, I’m born-and-raised Tampa, you got to support the team,” he said.

The festivities ended with the Cup getting dented and being sent to Montreal for repairs.

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Stephanie Colombini joined WUSF Public Media in December 2016 as Producer of Florida Matters, WUSF’s public affairs show. She’s also a reporter for WUSF’s Health News Florida project.
Carica Astrel