Water Street Tampa Logo

a person cheering in a stadium

Game On: Thunder Alley Ignites – A Sports Fan’s Lightning Experience

Dive into the sports frenzy at Thunder Alley! Join the excitement, camaraderie, and passion as fans gear up for a thrilling season opener. Get ready for the game-day thrill.

By Jen Ring
Photos by Adrian O’Farrill

For Tampa Bay Lightning fans, Thunder Alley is a treasured pregame ritual. Fans arrive at the heart of Water Street Tampa in the plaza outside Amalie Arena an hour or two before the game, down beers in Corona Cantina and the Cigar City Taproom, people watch, take family photos in the oversized Adirondack selfie chair, and wait for ThunderBug to count them down into the arena.

Fans came from all over the Tampa Bay area to see the Lightning’s home opener. Current met folks from Lakeland, St. Pete, Brandon, and Tampa in Thunder Alley. All sang the same tune, one rife with good vibes, good beer, and good people-watching. Most of all, they appreciated being among others who share their passion for Lightning hockey.

Here, a choice crop of photos from the beginning of the season, one we hope—like ‘04, 2020, and 2021 before it—ends with the team hoisting the Stanley Cup. 

a person holding a flag

Fans and flag bearers feed off the creative energy provided by Jonathan Borofsky’s Lightning sculpture. When Borofsky finished building the 75-foot-tallsculpture in 1997, it became the tallest sculpture in the state of Florida. While it’s no longer the tallest sculpture in the state, Borofsky’s “Lightning” is still the tallest sculpture in the City of Tampa and remains one of Tampa’s landmark works of public art.

a group of hockey players on the ice
a group of people in a stadium

xThunderBug beats his drum, counting down from 10, as fans anxiously await their moment to enter the arena.

a person and person sitting at a table

Tito and Raakeebah Mann came from Brandon, Florida to see the season opener. “I just love the game of hockey. Period,” says Tito, who hopes the Lightning will bring home another Stanley Cup this year. “This is my first game,” says Raakeebah. “I love the excitement.”

a statue of a person holding a large cup

A 9-foot-tall bronze statue of former Lightning team captain Dave Andreychuk by Tampa sculptor Steven Dickey marks the entrance to Thunder Alley and commemorates the Lightning’s first Stanley Cup win against the Calgary Flames in 2004.