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Lightning’s Tampa turf a popular dads trip destination

The Kings are the latest team to bring their annual trip to Tampa. The Capitals and Senators have also done so this year.
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 14: (Editor's Note: Image was digitally altered)  The Tampa Bay Lightning host the Los Angeles Kings fathers, brothers and mentors during the Kings' annual team trip at Amalie Arena on January 14, 2020 in Tampa. (Photo by Casey Brooke Lawson/NHLI via Getty Images) [CASEY BROOKE LAWSON  |  NHLI via Getty Images]
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 14: (Editor's Note: Image was digitally altered) The Tampa Bay Lightning host the Los Angeles Kings fathers, brothers and mentors during the Kings' annual team trip at Amalie Arena on January 14, 2020 in Tampa. (Photo by Casey Brooke Lawson/NHLI via Getty Images) [CASEY BROOKE LAWSON | NHLI via Getty Images]
Published Jan. 16
Updated Jan. 16

TAMPA — There’s no such thing as a bad dads trip for an NHL team. But Doug Quick, father of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, went to Winnipeg in January 2012 and to Tampa in January 2020.

“I can definitely tell you which I think is better,” Doug said. “It’s the one where I can wear shorts and a T-shirt.”

The Kings have brought dads — and brothers and mentors — on their current trip that includes stops in Tampa and Sunrise/Fort Lauderdale. Because, well, it’s the Sunshine State.

They aren’t alone in including Florida on such a trip.

Related: The Lightning beat the Kings in a shootout after Nikita Kucherov's late tying goal

Most teams have at least one trip on their schedule featuring the Lightning and Panthers, so it makes for a popular destination for a dads or moms trip. The Senators have done a dads trip here, too. So have the Capitals. Rumor has it the Flyers will. Last season the Maple Leafs came to Florida for a moms trip.

Jen Pope, Kings vice president of community relations and team services, leads Los Angeles’ trip. She looks at the schedule for two good cities in a row (weather being an important factor in “good”) and where there’s a day off between games.

The Kings’ dads group flew into Tampa separately from the team Monday and went on a dinner cruise that night. They all flew together to Fort Lauderdale after Tuesday’s game against the Lightning and spent Wednesday — the off day before a game against the Panthers tonight in Sunrise — on an airboat tour of the Everglades. Today the dads group will go deep sea fishing and probably have beach time.

Pope talked to Ryan Belec, the Lightning’s director of team services, for ideas of what to do in the Tampa Bay area. Someone with the Capitals had recommended the StarShip dinner cruise around the bay. That was a hit with the Kings.

“It’s fantastic,” Doug Quick said. “We’re sitting there on the boat, have a couple of cocktails, have dinner, have a cigar. Going around the bay was fun.”

Kings forward Tyler Lewis enjoyed the change of pace of a dinner cruise, as opposed to a restaurant meal.

A few Lightning players had dads trips to Tampa when they were with other teams. Ryan McDonagh’s father still talks about the trip they took to Tampa with the Rangers and the massive family dinner the team hosted at Bern’s Steak House.

Kevin Shattenkirk doesn’t have great memories of the Rangers’ trip here last year because he got hurt. He has been hurt on two dads trips; now his father isn’t allowed to go on them anymore.

Braydon Coburn came to Tampa with the Flyers when he was with them from 2006-15. He doesn’t remember the specifics but recalls his father enjoying it. Gradon Coburn lives in Saskatchewan, so just about any dads trip means a warmer city for him.

Related: Ryan McDonagh is nearing a return from injury after missing six games

This season the Lightning had their trip to St. Louis and Chicago. Last season it was to Nashville and Philadelphia. Nashville is another popular destination for the trips.

The Kings put a twist on their moms gathering last season. They did a stay-cation, hosting the women at a resort on a beach near Los Angeles and a watch party while the team played on the road. Then the group attended a home game and went to a game against the Ducks in Anaheim.

Dads and moms trips can be fun anywhere — sharing stories about their sons is really the highlight — but a good city is a bonus.

“You’re traveling with the team, but your kids have a set routine,” Doug Quick said. “Don’t mess with the pregame nap. It’s fun to go out regardless of where you go. But it’s also nice to get to go downtown or things like the dinner cruise. So far, this trip is right up there.”

Contact Diana C. Nearhos at dnearhos@tampabay.com. Follow @dianacnearhos.

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