Lightning Unveils New Training Facility at Ice Sports Forum

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Since taking ownership eight years ago, Jeff Vinik has gradually transformed all aspects of the Tampa Bay Lightning franchise into a world-class organization.

On Wednesday, the Lightning unveiled its latest upgraded room, an all-new state-of-the-art training facility at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon.

The improved training grounds, privately funded at a cost of $ 7.5 million, are huge, reaching 18,300 square feet, nearly four times the size of their old digs. By comparison, the space is even larger than the 14,500 square foot Lightning locker room and training area at AMALIE Arena.

“Jeff Vinik bought this team in 2010 and we’re talking about transformation all the time,” Lightning CEO Steve Griggs said at Wednesday’s unveiling ceremony. “We are talking about world class. Everything we’ve touched, especially downtown with AMALIE Arena, has been world class, and we’ve transformed everything, whether you are talking about the brand, the community, the hockey team itself as well. than the arena. But the only thing we hadn’t really touched was the training center. “

Until now.

Tweet from @BBurnsNHL: A look at the new #Bolts training facility at the Ice Sports Forum. Features include a 24-seat theater room, players lounge, 1,224 square foot locker room, 3,200 gallon underwater treadmill, hot and cold Jacuzzis, steam room, and dry sauna. pic.twitter.com/d1vAptkToQ

The Lightning certainly has a world-class training facility to call home. Go through the double doors on the other side of the public entrance to the Ice Sports Forum and you are immediately greeted by a mural on the left wall with a sign reading “Our Commitment to Service” and photos of Bolts in the community like Ondrej Palat and his wife Barbora at a Metropolitan Ministries event or head coach Jon Cooper, forward Tyler johnson and Tony Colton, a friend of the Lightning who succumbed to his battle with pediatric cancer last summer, at the annual Coop’s Catch for Kids charity fishing tournament.

The right wall features images of the Stanley Cup and Prince of Wales trophies, with the years the Lightning won them, next to a sign that simply read ‘The Standard’.

These reminders of Lightning’s history along with motivational displays of the organization’s core values ​​and beliefs can be seen on every wall.

At the far end of the facility from the entrance, the gym is the most notable upgrade. Previously, the Ice Sports Forum’s Lightning weight room was about the size of a standard hotel room with only a handful of machines and equipment. When a large number of players were training simultaneously at events like a development camp or training camp, players would often spill into the adjacent dining room to perform their training drills.

Today, the gym is about 10 times the size of the old facility, at 3,468 square feet. The high ceilings make the space even bigger. Large windows provide pleasant natural light. Weight stations and machines line the perimeter while the middle features a synthetic turf surface for floor exercises.

Set back from the gymnasium, a hydrotherapy room features a 3,200 gallon underwater treadmill as well as video surveillance that was once housed behind sheets of plywood deep in the bowels of the AMALIE Arena. Next to it are hot and cold baths, a hammam and a sauna.

Across the hall is a new feature: a 24-seat video room with plush leather armchairs, cinema seats, a 90-inch main screen, and an additional 65-inch screen.

The dressing room is more suitable for a Stanley Cup vying team with roughly three times the space of the old dressing room, dark wood stalls for 28 players and a large, lightning logo on the ceiling. Nearby, a living room with sofas, televisions and a fully equipped kitchen offers players a comfortable setting to rest after a hard day’s training.

Video: Taylor Raddysh talks about her game at development camp

“It has all the amenities you need for a workout facility,” said Griggs. “Obviously, in the age of free agency and player retention, you need a world-class training facility.”

As local media toured the new facility, the Lightning opened the on-ice portion of the development camp on adjacent rinks. Tampa Bay director of player development Stacy Roest, who oversees the development camp, called the upgraded facility “unreal.”

“I don’t think I’ve seen it all yet. The gym is very impressive, the kitchen is impressive. The (players) were just walking around for the first hour. They couldn’t believe they were in such a beautiful place. installation Very impressed.

The Ice Sports Forum has served as a training center for the Lightning since 1997, and the Bolts signed a 10-year lease extension in June 2017 to continue training there.

“This is a momentous occasion for us, not only the unveiling of the training facility, but also the recent signing of our extended partnership,” said Tom Bradley, owner of the Ice Sports Forum. “… The Lightning could have built this facility anywhere. They could have built it in their backyard, but the real way they chose to keep it in the hockey community, in the youth hockey community, giving young people the chance to see the dedication that these athletes bring on the ice and train every day which gives them the chance to see athletes such as Steven stamkos, Victor hedman who truly deserve role model status. “



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