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Tampa Bay Lightning fan fashion is hot and cold

Sure, it’s 90 degrees, but that hasn’t stopped us from wearing hockey sweaters in July.
Connor Flatch, center, is cooled off with a cold beer at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park in Tampa while celebrating the Lightning’s second consecutive Stanley Cup championship.
Connor Flatch, center, is cooled off with a cold beer at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park in Tampa while celebrating the Lightning’s second consecutive Stanley Cup championship. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Jul. 12
Updated Jul. 13

Perhaps you went to the Stanley Cup victory boat parade Monday. Maybe you saw me! I was the one crushed behind a 6-foot-3 sweating man, who considered all 5 feet of me, then moved in front like the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk. Parades are so fun.

One minute, I was wondering if that distant speck was a Stamkos in the wild. The next minute, left with no choice, I switched to people-watching. Suddenly, it became clear that everyone was dressed for a winter storm in July.

Tampa Bay Lightning fan fashion is zany, but so is an ice sport that culminates with a trophy riding a jet ski. This season is behind us, but based on the trends, experts predict the Lightning will win another Stanley Cup in approximately three weeks. Be prepared with these simple style tips.

First, wear a full hockey uniform on top. It’s called a sweater — do not call it a jersey, unless you’re in the mood for someone to say, “actually.” It should be thick, a durable woven polyester with hulking logo patches glued to the front. It should feel like carrying twins.

Fans gather at Curtis Hixon Park along the Hillsborough River during the Stanley Cup Champions Boat Parade.
Fans gather at Curtis Hixon Park along the Hillsborough River during the Stanley Cup Champions Boat Parade. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]

Those sweaters can itch, so layer up with an undershirt. Now top it off with the Stanley Cup Champions towel around your neck. You need something to swing around but mostly to absorb the sweat, because it’s 92 degrees. The pain will stop when the Lightning stops.

If you do not wish for heatstroke, opt for a breezy T-shirt. This year’s victory ushered in a line of profane tees inspired by everyone’s favorite Drunk Uncle, Nikita Kucherov, who came in like a shirtless wrecking ball chugging beer at a press conference. Who invited him to Thanksgiving? We talked about this.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Luke Schenn holds the Stanley Cup as he and others celebrate victory with a boat parade.
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Luke Schenn holds the Stanley Cup as he and others celebrate victory with a boat parade. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Okay, onto the bottoms. Lightning fans should pair hockey sweaters with virtually nothing on the lower half. Got it? Choose the smallest shorts available or forgo them altogether. Seriously, no one minds. Do wear flip flops; your feet will need to breathe while your upper body turns into a chocolate bar forgotten in the car.

Alternately, you may wear these:

Jim Schaller, 55, drove from Orlando to Tampa on the morning of the Lightning boat parade to get a good spot by 9 a.m.
Jim Schaller, 55, drove from Orlando to Tampa on the morning of the Lightning boat parade to get a good spot by 9 a.m. [ MARI FAIELLO | Times ]

Coming from a busy day at the office? No prob. Pull your sweater atop your Oxford shirt. No, it does not unbutton like a baseball jersey. Some of them lace up around your neck! The creeping asphyxiation of dueling collars is half the fun, goof.

Speaking of baseball: Sports got together a couple years ago at a Sports meeting and decided Sports would now be won exclusively here. Loyal fans need to double or triple up on team gear. Why not wear an open Tampa Bay Rays jersey over your hockey sweater? Use the flaps to wipe off your brow, now the riverbank from The Wind and the Willows.

Or, confuse everyone with a shirt in Lightning colors that says “GRONK,” like coach Jon Cooper.

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper celebrates with an ode to “Gronk.”
Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper celebrates with an ode to “Gronk.” [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

It’s time to finish your look. You, hockey fan, have been drinking blood ice beer since 9 a.m. Now, accessorize like you mean it. Maybe it’s a sequined hat, or a life-size Stanley Cup made of foil, or a Friday the 13th Jason mask. Use your imagination and have fun, because we’re definitely doing this again.

But remember — no pants!

Max Tamny, with hockey mask, joins a group of Tampa Bay Lightning fans at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park.
Max Tamny, with hockey mask, joins a group of Tampa Bay Lightning fans at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

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