TAMPA, Fla. - Fire up the boats – and maybe the Jet Skis. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s championship boat parade will take place Monday morning, Mayor Jane Castor says, followed by a downtown celebration.
Unlike last year, the Lightning won the Stanley Cup last night in front of the home crowd at Amalie Arena. But like last year, they’ll celebrate with a boat parade down the Hillsborough River.
"We’re gonna do it the way we do it in Tampa Bay, which is the original boat parade," Castor boasted Thursday. "The river and the bay really are the center of the Tampa Bay area, so to be able to celebrate in that way…is a great bonus. How unique is it? What other hockey town can have a boat parade for a celebration?"
Last year’s parade kicked off at Marjorie Park on Davis Islands and wound its way up past Armature Works and concluded with a celebration at Raymond James Stadium. This year's plan will be similar, but with less COVID-19 restrictions.
Players will begin assembling for the parade around 10 a.m. Monday at Marjorie Park, with the goal of getting underway by 11 a.m. They'll head up the river, passing the convention center, Riverwalk, and the downtown parks, then dock at Ricks on the River between noon and 1 p.m.
No outside boats will be permitted in the parade, but the entire riverfront should offer a good view.
From there, the players will board trolleys with their families and drive over to Julian B. Lane Park for what the mayor called a "huge celebration" on stage at 2 p.m.
The park will open to fans at 9 a.m. No coolers or chairs will be allowed but there will be plenty of food trucks and entertainment, Castor promised, including performances by Vo Williams and Big Boi.
Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has a family commitment this weekend – his son's wedding – so Monday was the first possible day for the parade, Castor noted, responding to questions about why the parade won't happen over the weekend.
"We couldn't have this parade without the person who made it possible, and that is Jeff Vinik," she said.
More details would be available tomorrow, the mayor added.
There’s no word yet whether Alex Killorn will fire up his water scooter for another victory lap with the Stanley Cup.
It is unlikely, though, that anyone will try to repeat Tom Brady’s viral boat-to-boat trophy-tossing moment from the Buccaneers' Super Bowl parade earlier this year. The Lombardi Trophy, safely hauled in by the sure hands of Rob Gronkowski, weighs in at 7 pounds.
Lord Stanley’s iconic cup, though, is almost 35 pounds.
"We have divers. If Stanley takes a swim, we'll get him back in short order," Castor quipped.