Tampa Bay Lightning makes some improvements to the St. Pete Times Forum
I know it's the start of training camp, but was at the St. Pete Times Forum the other day and got a look at some of the additions the team has made for the new season, the most notable being the $325,000 the team said it spent on new boards and glass for around the rink to replace the previous system that dates back to the building's opening.
• The new boards feature an upper lip with rounded plastic edges. The previous boards had squared edges, one of which in 2003 gashed the face of former defenseman Jassen Cullimore, who needed 70 stitches to close the wound.
• The glass will feature improved sight lines as each pane will be held by extrusions 8 feet apart compared to 4 feet previously. The Thrashers have this system and it looks very cool and works well.
• The yellow kick plate at the bottom of the boards is now embedded. Previously, the kick plate was an add-on and could cause unpredictable puck bounces.
• Two new Zambonis were purchased for a combined $170,000, the teams said. The old Zambonis were from 1987 and 1994.
• Banners for each league team will hang from the rafters.
• Lightning signs will dress up the front of the press box.
• More flat-screen televisions in the concourses, which have been cleaned and painted. There also are more recycling bins throughout the building and the floor of the concourse has been ground down for a new floor that goes in next summer.