Tampa Bay Lightning fans ready to ‘be the thunder’ at season opener

The Annual Tampa Bay Lightning Fan Fest held Sunday, Sept. 20, at Amalie Arena in Tampa gave parents and their children a chance to see their favorite Bolt players up close.

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — The Tampa Bay Lightning return to the ice Thursday night for their season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers.

After coming so close to claiming the Stanley Cup last season, some hockey fans can’t wait to get back inside Amalie Arena for more action on the ice. The Lightning lost the Cup during game six to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Nearly the entire roster is returning this season. Coaches, players, and fans have high expectations for another run in the playoffs.

Those who make it to the game, will notice some big changes inside Amalie after a $25 million renovation. Amalie officials promise a great fan experience with luxury seating, touch screens to check stats and replays, and new gourmet food options. The construction inside isn’t quite complete, but Amalie officials promise it won’t get in the way of all the fun.

The puck drops Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Watch News Channel 8 starting with First at Four for complete coverage of opening night.

 Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) reacts after teammate center Valtteri Filppula (51) scored a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period of Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Saturday, June 13, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) reacts after teammate center Valtteri Filppula (51) scored a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period of Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Saturday, June 13, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Ben Bishop
Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) blocks a shot by Florida Panthers center Brandon Pirri (73) in the second period during an NHL preseason hockey game Saturday in Sunrise, Fla. AP Photo

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