This announcement from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday morning.
TAMPA BAY – Tampa Bay Lightning owner and chairman Jeff Vinik will invest $6 million in the team’s exclusive practice facility, the Ice Sports Forum (ISF), to create brand new locker room and training facilities for the team, the organization announced today. The Ice Sports Forum will also be investing $500,000 in the project, which will break ground in September. In addition, the Lightning and the Ice Sports Forum have agreed to a 10-year lease extension, ensuring the Lightning will practice will call the ISF home through at least 2026-27.
“The Lightning are looking forward to opening this new state-of-the-art training facility in the spring of 2018,” Vinik said. “We have addressed a number of things as an organization on and off the ice since purchasing the team in 2010, but one thing that has not been improved to this point has been the team’s practice venue. That will change this fall when we break ground. We remain steadfast in our commitment to winning the Stanley Cup, and that begins with providing every resource for our players to train and prepare.
“I would like to personally thank the Ice Sports Forum and owner Tom Bradley for being a great partner of the organization for more than 20 years. We hope to continue the relationship for another 20 years or more.”
The Lightning’s new 18,000-square foot addition to the Ice Sports Forum will dwarf the current training facility, which is approximately 5,500 square feet. For comparison, the team’s current facility at AMALIE Arena is approximately 14,500 square feet. The new addition will feature all team spaces including locker room, weight room, training room, dedicated press room, an expanded player lounge and more. It will feature amenities that are not currently available at AMALIE Arena, including hydrotherapy facilities and a video room/theater. It will also include a new rink dasher system for the North Rink.
The organizations have selected industry-leading sports architectural firm AECOM to design the new facility.
Home of the Lightning since 1997, the 85,000-square-foot Ice Sports Forum is located in Tampa, Florida, just minutes from AMALIE Arena. The facility consists of two NHL regulation rinks, a massive LaserStrike laser tag arena, the Centerline Café, Power Play Grill and Sports Bar, Rinkside Pro Shop and designated areas for birthday parties as well as conferences. The Ice Sports Forum plays host to numerous USA Hockey and ISI figure skating events in addition to being the exclusive practice facility of the Lightning.
The Ice Sports Forum has one of the highest adult hockey participation levels in the country with more than 100 teams in various leagues. The facility also hosts youth hockey recreational leagues and travel teams ranging from mini-mite through high school.
(photo courtesy Getty Images)