The city of Tampa was not going to let the COVID-19 pandemic prevent them from celebrating with the Tampa Bay Lightning who won the Stanley Cup earlier this week. And when it comes to drinking from the Stanley Cup, fans didn't back down from that either as the team let fans take a sip from the championship trophy. This was part of the team's celebration that took place at Raymond James stadium that had a limited seating capacity of 15,000.
This comes after the Lightning spent three months in a bubble in Canada to finish the season. This also comes after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis removed all COVID-19 restrictions, but individual business can implement their own measures. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are over 700,000 cases of the coronavirus in Florida with an average of nearly 2,000 new cases per day.
Not only players get to drink from the Cup pic.twitter.com/NYcOk5wLoV— Diana C. Nearhos (@dianacnearhos) September 30, 2020
Fans have been waiting for the Lightning to win another title after winning it all for the first time in 2004. At the celebration, Lightning owner Jeff Vinik told ESPN: "This was not only a hockey Stanley Cup. This was a mental Stanley Cup to get through that period of time. Kudos to them and kudos to their families for being so supportive. That's a long time away from home and I don't think any of us can appreciate how tough that was."
The Lightning had a strong regular season, finishing with a 43-21-6 record with 92 points. Nikita Kucherov led the team with 85 points while their captain, Steven Stamkos, was second with 66. Stamkos has been with the team since 2008 and has collected a number of individual honors over the years, including being named to the All-Star team six times. He saw limited action during the Stanley Cup playoffs due to an injury.
"He did a tremendous job rehabbing during the pause and getting himself ready," Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said to ESPN. "As it happens sometimes with injuries, and particularly with this injury, sometimes your body compensates. It eventually triggered what we believe is a compensation injury that has developed into - or turned out to be - related to this injury."