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Author Topic: Tampa Bay Lighting Break Ground On Street Hockey Initiative  (Read 822 times)

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The first of 10 outdoor hockey rinks planned, complete with custom sport court, lights and seating.

Tampa Bay Lightning executives and Oldsmar leaders dug hockey sticks in the ground to mark the start of construction for a new outdoor street hockey rink – a first for Pinellas County.

The Oldsmar Lightning Street Hockey Rink, presented by Heritage Insurance, will be located at the Oldsmar Sports Complex.

It will be one of 10 that will be built in the five-county footprint of the Tampa Bay area built by 2020 as part of the Build the Thunder 2.0 and Connect the Thunder initiatives.

“When we make a decision to invest in our youth, we go big," Oldsmar Mayor Eric Seidel said to the crowd on Friday afternoon during the ceremonial groundbreaking event.

The sports complex is known for its BMX track where Olympians have trained among other unique fields.

Seidel explained that a typical outdoor hockey rink would have painted concrete in a fenced in area, but this project will be better than that.

“We ensure our long-term success by having the right starting point," Seidel said.

The 60-by-120-foot rink will have a canopy, lighting, player benches, penalty boxes and a scoreboard.

It's expected to be open in the late summer of early fall. Construction costs were not disclosed.

“I grew up in Toronto. We didn’t have this in Toronto where we built outdoor rinks, we had ponds that we skated on in the winter and we would shoot hockey pucks in our dirveways," Tampa Bay Lightning CEO Steve Griggs said.

The facility in Oldsmar is the second in the area. The first was built in Lakewood Ranch's Premiere Sports Campus.

The rinks will allow for different teams to form, and play against each other. They may even help develop local hockey talent in the Tampa Bay area.

“You go from playing street hockey to ice hockey and next thing you know we have a Steven Stamkos on our hands," Griggs said.

In September 2015, through the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players Association's Industry Growth Fund, the Lightning announced a $6 million grass roots hockey development initiative to be delivered to young people in Tampa Bay, according to the Lightning's blog.

Part of the program included disbursing 100,000 hockey sticks and balls to local children.

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