Jacksonville Sports Day

NHL NOTES: Date Announced for Annual Lightning Fan Fest in Tampa

Vladislav Namestnikov

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced that it will open training camp on Thursday, Sept. 22 at AMALIE Arena and host the team’s 2016 Fan Fest on Sunday, Sept. 25, with doors to the general public opening at 11 a.m.

Fan Fest will include live team scrimmages, player autographs and programming featuring some of fans’ favorite Lightning personalities. The event will also feature family fun, kids’ activities, as well as specials on food, beverage and merchandise. Season Ticket Members will have an exclusive window prior to the doors opening to the general public. This is a free event and ticket information will be available at a later date.

The Lightning will open the team’s 24th training camp with testing and annual media day on Thursday, September 22 at AMALIE Arena. The team will hit the ice the following day. Tampa Bay will have 12 players, as well as head coach Jon Cooper, representing their various countries at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey and will be available to media at a later date.

Additional details regarding both training camp and Fan Fest will be available soon.

LIGHTNING RE-SIGN NAMESTNIKOV AND GOURDE

The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed forward Vladislav Namestnikov and forward Yanni Gourde.

Namestnikov, 23, skated in 80 games with the Lightning during the 2015-16 season, collecting 14 goals and 35 points to go along with 45 penalty minutes. The Zhukovskiy, Russia native set career highs this past season for games played, goals, assists, points and plus/minus (plus-17). Namestnikov ranked second on the Bolts for plus/minus, was tied for fourth for goals and seventh for points. He registered his first career NHL hat trick on January 15 this past season against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound forward has appeared in 127 career NHL games, posting 23 goals and 51 points to go along with 62 penalty minutes. Namestnikov has also played in 29 career Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Lightning, recording a goal and four points. He skated in 17 playoff games with the Lightning in 2016, collecting a goal and three points.

Gourde, 24, appeared in two games with the Lightning during the 2015-16 regular season, posting an assist and two penalty minutes. Gourde made his NHL debut with the Bolts last season on December 15 against the Toronto Maple Leafs and posted an assist, his first career NHL point. The 5-foot-9, 167-pound forward also played in 65 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League last season, recording 14 goals and 44 points to go along with 42 penalty minutes. He ranked fourth on Syracuse for points and assists and was tied for fourth on the club for goals.

The Saint-Narcisse, Quebec native has skated in two career NHL games, all with the Lightning last season, posting an assist. Gourde has also played in 242 career AHL games over five seasons with the Crunch and Worcester Sharks, collecting 58 goals and 150 points. During the 2014-15 season, Gourde led the Crunch for goals with 29 and ranked second for points with 57.

LIGHTNING IN ROOKIE TOURNAMENT

The Lightning will participate in a four-team rookie tournament at the Florida Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs, Florida from Saturday, Sept. 17 through Tuesday, Sept. 20. The event is free and open to the public.  Also participating in the tournament will be the Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and the Washington Capitals. Tampa Bay’s roster will be announced at a later date but will feature some of the top young talent in the organization’s system. The annual tournament was hosted by the Lightning last year at Germain Arena in Estero, Fla.

WALKER NAMED VP OF INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY SERVICES

Sean Walker has accepted the position of vice president of innovation and technology services. Walker will serve as part of the senior leadership team and will be responsible for the overall technological direction of the organization and arena operations.

“We are very excited to announce the addition of Sean Walker to the Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment family today,” CEO Steve Griggs said. “The most important thing in creating a world-class organization is hiring world-class people, and we feel we have done that with Sean. He has been on the cutting edge of innovation throughout his career and will work to improve our overall infrastructure, integration, operational efficiency and, most importantly, our guest experience through technology. On behalf of the entire organization we’d like to welcome him back to his home state of Florida.”

Walker joins the Lightning from the National Basketball Association (NBA) where he served as associate vice president of team, arena and event technology.

SINGLE GAME TICKETS ON SALE

Single game tickets for Tampa Bay Lightning games at AMALIE Arena during the 2016-17 regular season will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Monday August 8, the team announced today. Single game tickets can be purchased exclusively online at www.TampaBayLightning.com/tickets, not at the McDonald’s Ticket Office.

Season Ticket Members, as well as those in the Lightning Insider Text Club, will have exclusive pre-sale opportunities. They will be notified of the dates and times via email and text. Interested fans can join the Lightning Insider Text Club by texting BOLTS to 61873 to receive their single-game ticket pre-sale code on August 5.

Tampa Bay will play each of its Atlantic Division opponents four times, two at home and two on the road, with the exception of the Boston Bruins (two home, three away) and the Detroit Red Wings (three home, two away). It will have a rematch of the 2016 Eastern Conference Final against the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins on December 10 at AMALIE Arena.

The Lightning will again play each of their Metropolitan Division opponents within the Eastern Conference three times. Tampa Bay will host the Washington Capitals, New Jersey Devils, Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jacks twice, while playing host to the Penguins, New York Rangers, New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers once each, along with each Western Conference team.

The Lightning will play nine home games during the month of March, more than any other month. With the exception of April (just six games total), Tampa Bay will play their least number of home games in October, with just four of nine contests being held at AMALIE Arena. The Bolts will host their longest home stand of the season with five games from December 28 through January 5. They will also play four strings of four home contests in a row.

(Mike Bonts covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for Tampa Sports Day and the Florida Sports Wire.)

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