St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg is a city in Pinellas County, United States; as of the 2015 census estimate, the population was 257,083, making it the fifth-most populous city in Florida and the largest in the state, not a county seat. St. Petersburg is the second-largest city in the Tampa Bay Area, after Tampa. Together with Clearwater, these cities comprise the Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area, the second-largest in Florida with a population of around 2.8 million. St. Petersburg is located on the Pinellas peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, is connected to mainland Florida to the north. St. Petersburg was founded in 1888 by John C. Williams, who purchased the land, by Peter Demens, who brought the railroad industry into the area; as a part of a coin toss bet, the winner, Peter Demens, named the land after Saint Petersburg, while Williams opted to name the first hotel built, named the Detroit Hotel, both named after their home towns respectively. St. Petersburg was incorporated as a town on February 29, 1892 and re-incorporated as a city on June 6, 1903.
The city is referred to by locals as St. Pete. Neighboring St. Pete Beach formally shortened its name in 1994 after a vote by its residents. St. Petersburg is governed by a city council. With an average of some 361 days of sunshine each year, a Guinness World Record for logging the most consecutive days of sunshine, it is nicknamed "The Sunshine City". Due to its good weather and low cost of living, the city has long been a popular retirement destination, although in recent years the population has moved in a much more youthful direction. American Style magazine ranked St. Petersburg its top mid-size city in 2011, citing its "vibrant" arts scene; the city was co-founded by John C. Williams of Detroit, who purchased the land in 1875, by Peter Demens, instrumental in bringing the terminus of the Orange Belt Railway there in 1888; the first major newspaper to debut in Tampa Bay was the St. Petersburg Times which established in 1884. St. Petersburg was incorporated as a town on February 29, 1892, when it had a population of only some 300 people.
A local legend says that John C. Williams and Peter Demens flipped a coin to see who would have the honor of naming the city; when Demens won the coin toss the city was named after Saint Petersburg, where Peter Demens had spent half of his youth, while John C. Williams named the first hotel after his birthplace, Detroit; the Detroit Hotel still has been turned into a condominium. The oldest running hotels are the historic Pier Hotel, built in 1921, formally Hotel Cordova and The Heritage Hotel, built in 1926. Philadelphia publisher F. A. Davis turned on St. Petersburg's first electrical service in 1897; the city's first major industry was born in 1899 when Henry W. Hibbs, a native of Newport, North Carolina, established his wholesale fish business at the end of the railroad pier, which extended out to the shipping channel. Within a year, Hibbs Fish Company was shipping more than 1,000 pounds of fish each day. St. Petersburg was incorporated as a city in June 1903. With this transition, the development of the downtown waterfront had dredging of a deeper shipping channel from 1906 to 1908 which opened St. Petersburg to larger shipping.
Further dredging improved the port facilities through the 1910s. By the city's population had quadrupled to a population of 4,127 citizens. F. A. Davis was instrumental to bringing the first trolley service in 1904. In 1914, the Tampa Bay area was one of the first Floridian cities that fell in love with baseball tracing its roots from Tampa and St. Petersburg; the former mayor of St. Petersburg, Al Lang, had invited the St. Louis Browns to move their spring training into the city. St. Petersburg's first library opened on December 1, 1915 which still operates till this day as the Mirror Lake Library. In 1914 an airplane service across Tampa Bay from St. Petersburg to Tampa and back was initiated considered the first scheduled commercial airline flight; the company name was the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line, the pilot was Tony Jannus, flying a Benoist XIV flying boat; the Tony Jannus Award is presented annually for outstanding achievement in the airline industry. The 1920s in St. Petersburg was big due to its major growth brought by tourists.
Tourists came from all over by automobile and railroad. Travel time from across the bay was cut due to the Gandy Bridge's opening in 1924, helping St. Petersburg increase in tourist numbers and helped grow it into the largest city in Pinellas County; the city adopted the Mediterranean-style architecture brought by Snell Isles founder Perry Snell. An attraction that brought on a great number of tourists and citizens was the Million Dollar Pier, built in 1926. Tourism declined by early 1930s due to the Great Depression; the city recovered in the 1930s with the help of the Public Works Administration, including a $10 million investment plan in 1939 which helped build the St. Petersburg City Hall. By the 1940s the city received a large population growth due to World War II. St. Petersburg was a training ground area for the U. S. Coast Guard which had a training base and used the city's Bayboro Harbor, for the Army Air Force, selected by the War Department to use the city as their technical service training station.
With both stations occupying the city, more than 100,000 troops occupied all hotels in St. Petersburg. After the war, most troops who were stationed in St. Petersburg returned as tourists. In the 1950s, St. Petersburg experienced another population increase with residen
Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays are an American professional baseball team based in St. Petersburg, Florida; the Rays compete in Major League Baseball as a member of the American League East division. Since its inception, the team's home venue has been Tropicana Field. Following nearly three decades of unsuccessfully trying to gain an expansion franchise or enticing existing teams to relocate to the Tampa Bay Area, an ownership group led by Vince Naimoli was approved on March 9, 1995; the Tampa Bay Devil Rays began play in the 1998 Major League Baseball season. Their first decade of play, was marked by futility. Following the 2007 season, Stuart Sternberg, who had purchased controlling interest in the team from Vince Naimoli two years earlier, changed the team's name from "Devil Rays" to "Rays", now meant to refer to a burst of sunshine rather than a manta ray, though a manta ray logo remains on the uniform sleeves; the 2008 season saw the Tampa Bay Rays post their first winning season, their first AL East championship, their first pennant, though they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in that year's World Series.
Since the Rays have played in the postseason in 2010, 2011, 2013. The Tampa Bay Rays' chief rivals are the New York Yankees. Regarding the former, there have been several notable on-field incidents; the Rays have an intrastate interleague rivalry with the National League's Miami Marlins, whom they play in the Citrus Series. The name "Tampa Bay" is used to describe a geographic metropolitan area which encompasses the cities around the body of water known as Tampa Bay, including Tampa, St. Petersburg and Bradenton. Unlike in the case of Green Bay, there is no municipality known as "Tampa Bay"; the "Tampa Bay" in the names of local professional sports franchises denotes that they represent the entire region, not just Tampa or St. Petersburg. Former civic leader and St. Petersburg Times publisher, Jack Lake, first suggested St. Petersburg pursue a Major League baseball team in the 1960s; the notable influences Lake held in the sport are what led to the serious discussions that changed St. Petersburg from a spring training location to a major league city.
He spoke to anyone who would listen about his desire to see the city of St. Petersburg have a Major league baseball team, his colorful direction dominated the mindset in both sports and business circles dating back to 1966. He was said to have the prominence to make it happen. Local leaders made many unsuccessful attempts to acquire a major league baseball team in the 1980s and 1990s; the Minnesota Twins, San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners all considered moving to either Tampa or St. Petersburg before deciding to remain in their current locations; the Florida Suncoast Dome was built in St. Petersburg in 1990 with the purpose of luring a major league team; that same year two separate groups, one in Tampa and another in Sarasota, were seeking to get an expansion team. The Tampa one registered the name "Florida Panthers", after a local feline - a trademark which ended up being purchased by entrepreneur Wayne Huizenga one year and used by him to name an NHL ice hockey team.
When Major League Baseball announced that it would add two expansion teams for the 1993 season, it was assumed that one of the teams would be placed in the Dome. However, in addition to the application from St. Petersburg, a competing group applied to field a team in Tampa, prompting much conflict over the bid; the two National League teams were awarded to Miami instead. In 1992, San Francisco Giants owner Bob Lurie agreed in principle to sell his team to a Tampa Bay-based group of investors led by Vince Naimoli, who would move the team to St. Petersburg. However, at the 11th hour, MLB owners nixed the move under pressure from San Francisco officials and the Giants were sold to a group that kept them in San Francisco. On March 9, 1995, new expansion franchises were awarded to Naimoli's Tampa Bay group and a group from Phoenix; the new franchises were scheduled to begin play in 1998. The Tampa Bay area had a team, but the stadium in St. Petersburg was in need of an upgrade. In 1993, the stadium was renamed the Thunderdome and became the home of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team and the Tampa Bay Storm Arena Football League team.
After the birth of the Rays, the naming rights were sold to Tropicana Products and $70 million was spent on renovations. The records of the Rays' last five seasons in Major League Baseball; these statistics are current through the 2018 Major League Baseball season. Tampa Bay's primary rivals are the New York Yankees; the Red Sox/Rays rivalry dates back to the 2000 season, when Devil Ray Gerald Williams took exception to being hit by a pitch thrown by Boston pitcher Pedro Martínez and charged the mound, resulting in a game full of retaliations and ejections on both sides. There have been several other incidents between the teams during the ensuing years, including one in 2005 which resulted in two bench-clearing fights during the game and a war of words between then-Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella and then-Boston pitcher Curt Schilling through the media in the following days; the rivalry reached its highest level to date during the 2008 season, which included a brawl during a June meeting in Fenway Park and a 7-game American League Championship Series between the teams t
A concert is a live music performance in front of an audience. The performance may be by a single musician, sometimes called a recital, or by a musical ensemble, such as an orchestra, choir, or band. Concerts are held in a wide variety and size of settings, from private houses and small nightclubs, dedicated concert halls and parks to large multipurpose buildings, sports stadiums. Indoor concerts held in the largest venues are sometimes called arena concerts or amphitheatre concerts. Informal names for a concert include gig. Regardless of the venue, musicians perform on a stage. Concerts require live event support with professional audio equipment. Before recorded music, concerts provided the main opportunity to hear musicians play. While the first concerts didn’t appear until the late 17th century, similar gatherings had been around throughout the 17th century at several European universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge. Though, the first public concerts that required an admission were created by the English violinist, John Banister.
Over the next few centuries, concerts began to gain larger audiences, classical symphonies were popular. After World War 2, these events changed into the modern concerts that take place today. An example of an early, post-WW2 concert is the Moondog Coronation Ball; as stated in the general history part above, the first known occurrence of concerts where people are charged admission took place at violinist John Banister's home in Whitefriars, London in 1672. 6 years in 1678, a man by the name of Thomas Britton held weekly concerts in Clerkenwell. However, these concerts were different. Before, you had an admission that you paid upon entering the building where the concert was held but at Britton's concerts, patrons purchased a yearly subscription to come to the concerts. At 10 shillings a year, people could see as many concerts. In addition to holding concerts at certain venues, concerts went to the people. In 17th century France, concerts were performed for only the nobility. Organized by Anne Danican Philidor, the first public concerts in France, arguably the world, were the Concerts Spirituels.
These concerts were held on religious holidays when the Opera was closed and served as a model for concert societies all over the world. In the late 18th century, music from the likes of Haydn and Mozart was brought and performed in English concerts. One notable work from Haydn performed at these concerts was his set of 12 symphonies referred to as the London Symphonies. Concerts reflecting the elegance of England during the time period were held at the gardens of Vauxhall and Marylebone; the musical repertoire performed at these events ranged from works composed by young Mozart, to songs that were popular in that time period. The nature of a concert varies by musical genre, individual performers, the venue. Concerts by a small jazz combo or small bluegrass band may have the same order of program and volume—but vary in music and dress. In a similar way, a particular musician, band, or genre of music might attract concert attendees with similar dress and behavior. For example, concert goers in the 1960s had long hair and inexpensive clothing made of natural fibers.
Regular attendees to a concert venue might have a recognizable style that comprises that venue's scene. A recital is a concert by small group which follows a program, it can highlight a single performer, sometimes accompanied by piano, or a performance of the works of a single composer, or a single instrument. The invention of the solo piano recital has been attributed to Franz Liszt. A recital may have many participants, as for a dance recital. A dance recital is a presentation of choreographed moves for an audience in an established performing arts venue competitively; some dance recitals are seasonal. Some performers or groups put on elaborate and expensive shows. To create a memorable and exciting atmosphere and increase the spectacle, performers include additional entertainment devices; these can include elaborate stage lighting, electronic imagery via system and/or pre-recorded video, inflatable sets, artwork or other set pieces, various special effects such as theatrical smoke and fog and pyrotechnics, unusual costumes or wardrobe.
Some singers popular music, augment concert sound with pre-recorded accompaniment, back-up dancers, broadcast vocal tracks of the singer's own voice. Activities during these concerts can include dancing, sing-alongs, moshing. Performers known for including these elements in their performances include: Pink Floyd, The Flaming Lips, Prince, Alice Cooper, Iron Maiden, Daft Punk, Lady Gaga, Jean Michel Jarre, Sarah Brightman, KISS, Gwar and Madonna. Classical concerts embody two different styles of classical music — orchestral and choral, they are performed by a plethora of different groups in concert halls or other performing art venues. For orchestra, depending on the number of performers and the instruments used, concerts include chamber music, chamber orchestra, or symphony orchestra. Chamber orchestra is a small-scale orchestra containing between ten to forty members string instruments, led by a conductor. Symphony orchestra, on the other hand, is a large-scale orchestra that can have up to eighty or more members, led by a conductor and is performed with instruments such as strings, brass instruments, percussion.
For choral style pieces, concerts include Choral music and musical theater. Each encompassing a variety of singers who are organized by a conductor or
TECO Line Streetcar System
The TECO Line Streetcar System is a heritage streetcar transit line in Tampa, run by the Hillsborough Area Regional Transportation Authority, owned by the city of Tampa, managed by Tampa Historic Streetcar, Inc. It connects Channelside to the historic Ybor City district. There is an "In-Town" trolley-replica bus system that connects Downtown and Harbour Island; the line opened on October 19, 2002, is 2.7 mi long with 11 stations. The system is single-track with several passing sidings, which follows a reserved right-of-way at a cost of 13.7 million per mile. Ten replica historic streetcars and one restored; the replica cars themselves cost $745,000 each. The first streetcars in Tampa were operated by the Tampa Street Railway Company between downtown Tampa and Ybor City; the line started operation in 1885. In 1892 the Tampa Street Railway Company merged with the Florida Electric Company to form the Tampa Street Railway and Power Company, converted to electrically powered streetcars in 1893. In 1892, a rival company, the Tampa Suburban Company, was organized to compete with the Tampa Street Railway Company, but was blocked from operating by an injunction.
A new company, The Consumers Electric Light and Street Railway Company was formed, soon out-competed the Tampa Railway Company by lowering its fares. The Consumers Electric Light and Street Railway Company bought out the Tampa Street Railway Company in 1894; the company acquired control of the Tampa and Palmetto Beach Rail Company, becoming the sole streetcar operator in Tampa. The Tampa Electric Company acquired control of the Consumers Electric Light and Street Railway Company in 1899; the Tampa Electric Company acquired 21 miles of streetcar track with the Consumers Electric Light and Street Railway Company in 1899. After acquiring the Tampa and Sulphur Springs Traction Company in 1913, Tampa Electric had 50 miles of track, increasing to 53 miles by 1926; that year the Tampa Electric system carried 24 million passengers. The streetcar system in Tampa was shut down after World War Two, with the last cars removed from service some time between 1946 and 1949. Streetcars returned to Tampa in 2002.
Its operating costs are financed through a special tax assessment on businesses in the streetcar district and a streetcar endowment stemming from settlement money received in 2006 by the city for the demolition of the Harbor Island People Mover. In its first year of operation, the streetcar carried 20 % more than projected. In 2005, 434,498 passengers used the streetcar. In 2011, streetcar ridership from October 2011 through May decreased by 8.3 percent to 265,148 with a total for the year of 358,737 riders. In 2015, the streetcar served 285,900 passengers. A new 0.333 mi extension, costing $5.5 million, opened for revenue service on December 19, 2010. The extension runs north along Franklin Street to Whiting Street and the Fort Brooke parking garage, connecting the Convention Center as well as the rest of the TECO Line to the downtown core. From north to south, the stations are Centennial Park; the system has eleven operating streetcars: nine modern replica double-truck Birney cars, one replica open-bench "Breezer", one restored original Birney car.
All except the original Birney were built by the Gomaco Trolley Company in Iowa. The replica Birney cars have a welded steel body with cosmetic rivets added to make them look older; the cars are air-conditioned and have automated stop announcements. The seats are reversible for when the car changes direction; the cars are equipped with on-board ticket dispensers. The original Birney #163 streetcar ran on the Tampa & Ybor City Street Railway between 1923 and 1946, it was found in 1991 in Sulphur Springs, a neighborhood in Tampa, where it had been used as an apartment and a storage shed. After extensive restoration the car is back to its former condition and is used for special events, such as Streetcar Fest in mid-October, it is Florida's only operational historic streetcar. The agency that operates the streetcar is a non-profit. On October 22, 2014, the Tampa Bay Times published an editorial on the leverage a subsidy the Tampa Port Authority gives to the streetcar system; however it wrote that the system "is not dependent" on the subsidy.
They reported that the system has to pay half a million dollars in insurance to cover the risk of streetcars crossing an active freight rail line. The single-ride adult fare was $2.50 prior to October 2018. Starting that month, fares were dropped for a three year period due to a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation. Light rail in the United States List of heritage railroads in the United States List of streetcar systems in the United States Orange Blossom Cannonball Streetcars in North America Transportation in Florida TECO Line official site North American Vintage Trolley Systems TECO Streetcar at Tampa Rail Website
Rodeo is a competitive sport that arose out of the working practices of cattle herding in Spain and Central America, South America, the United States, Canada and New Zealand. It was based on the skills required of the working vaqueros and cowboys, in what today is the western United States, western Canada, northern Mexico. Today, it is a sporting event that involves horses and other livestock, designed to test the skill and speed of the cowboys and cowgirls. American style professional rodeos comprise the following events: tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, bull riding and barrel racing; the events are divided into two basic categories: the timed events. Depending on sanctioning organization and region, other events such as breakaway roping, goat tying, pole bending may be a part of some rodeos. American rodeo popular today within the Canadian province of Alberta and throughout the western United States, is the official state sport of Wyoming, South Dakota, Texas.
The iconic silhouette image of a "Bucking Horse and Rider" is a federal and state-registered trademark of the State of Wyoming. The Legislative Assembly of Alberta has considered making American rodeo the official sport of that province. However, enabling legislation has yet to be passed. In the United States, professional rodeos are governed and sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and Women's Professional Rodeo Association, while other associations govern children's, high school and senior rodeos. Associations exist for Native Americans and other minority groups; the traditional season for competitive rodeo runs from spring through fall, while the modern professional rodeo circuit runs longer, concludes with the PRCA National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, now held in December. Rodeo has provoked opposition from animal rights and animal welfare advocates, who argue that various competitions constitute animal cruelty; the American rodeo industry has made progress in improving the welfare of rodeo animals, with specific requirements for veterinary care and other regulations that protect rodeo animals.
However, rodeo is opposed by a number of animal welfare organizations in the United States and Canada. Some local and state governments in North America have banned or restricted rodeos, certain rodeo events, or types of equipment. Internationally, rodeo is banned in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, with other European nations placing restrictions on certain practices; the American English word "rodeo" is taken directly from Spanish rodeo, which translates into English as "round up."The Spanish word is derived from the verb rodear, meaning "to surround" or "go around," used to refer to "a pen for cattle at a fair or market," derived from the Latin rota or rotare, meaning to rotate or go around. In Spanish America, the rodeo was the process, used by vaqueros to gather cattle for various purposes, such as moving them to new pastures, separating the cattle owned by different ranchers, or gathering in preparation for slaughter; the yearly rodeos for separating the cattle were overseen by the "Juez del Campo," who decided all questions of ownership.
The term was used to refer to exhibitions of skills used in the working rodeo. This evolved from these yearly gatherings where festivities were held and horsemen could demonstrate their equestrian skills, it was this latter usage, adopted into the cowboy tradition of the United States and Canada. The term rodeo was first used in English in 1834 to refer to a cattle round-up. Today the word is used to refer to a public exhibition of cowboy skills in the form of a competitive event. Many rodeo events were based on the tasks required by cattle ranching; the working cowboy developed skills to fit the needs of the terrain and climate of the American west, there were many regional variations. The skills required to manage cattle and horses date back to the Spanish traditions of the vaquero. Early rodeo-like affairs of the 1820s and 1830s were informal events in the western United States and northern Mexico with cowboys and vaqueros testing their work skills against one another. Following the American Civil War, rodeo competitions emerged, with the first held in Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1872.
Prescott, Arizona claimed the distinction of holding the first professional rodeo, as it charged admission and awarded trophies in 1888. Between 1890 and 1910, rodeos became public entertainment, sometimes combined Wild West shows featuring individuals such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, other charismatic stars. By 1910, several major rodeos were established in western North America, including the Calgary Stampede, the Pendleton Round-Up, the Cheyenne Frontier Days. Rodeo-type events became popular for a time in the big cities of the Eastern United States, with large venues such as Madison Square Garden playing a part in popularizing them for new crowds. There was no standardization of events for a rodeo competition until 1929, when associations began forming. In the 1970s, rodeo saw unprecedented growth. Contestants referred to; these contestants were young from an urban background, chose rodeo for its athletic rewards. By 1985, one third of PRCA members had a college education and one half of the competitors had never worked on a cattle ranch.
Today, some professional rodeos are staged in air-conditioned arenas. Many other professional rodeos are held outside, under the same conditions of heat, dust or mud as were the original events
Channel District is a residential neighborhood in the City of Tampa that includes an entertainment complex, just east of Downtown Tampa, Florida. It is bordered by Ybor Channel on the east and Garrison Channel on the south. Channelside is a nickname for the entertainment complex Channelside Bay Plaza, within the neighborhood that includes shops and bars, it is located next to the Florida Aquarium, American Victory Museum, Port Tampa Bay and a short stretch on the Tampa Riverwalk to the Tampa Bay History Center. Located in the district is the Amalie Arena where the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning play their home games; the Arena hosts concerts and other events. The center of the Bay Plaza has a large open court for live music, with views of the downtown skyline, cruise ships and the Port of Tampa, it houses a Sony Giant Screen theater. The TECO Streetcar has several stops in the district. NEVs are being utilized by startups to link Tampa's core neighborhoods including Channelside; the Tampa Convention Center is located adjacent to the district to the west.
Twin 30-story upscale condos Towers of Channelside were completed in 2007, with many other mid and high-rises completed since. Saint Leo University opened an adult continuing education center, called the Tampa Education Center, in the Channel District in July 2011. More shopping and entertainment is planned for the area along with an urban sports park, to be named Madison Park; the side streets away from the bay plaza are becoming the focal points of the neighborhood, featuring many new restaurants and coffee shops. The Channel District includes the Small Business Development Center at the University of South Florida. Starting in 2010 the Tampa Attractions Association formed a tradition of coloring the Garrison Channel green for Saint Patrick's Day. Several official Super Bowl XLIII parties featuring celebrity appearances were held in the district. Official City of Tampa Neighborhoods Channel District Legal Description. There is an inactive Neighborhood Association. Channelside Tampa Channelside District demographics page Where To Go In Channelside
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning are a professional ice hockey team based in Tampa, Florida. It is a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League; the Lightning have one Stanley Cup championship in their history, in 2003–04. The team is referred to as the Bolts, the nickname was used on the former third jerseys; the Lightning plays home games in Amalie Arena in Tampa. The owner of the Lightning is Jeffrey Vinik; the team is coached by Jon Cooper, who has led the team since 2013. In the late 1980s, the NHL announced. Two rival groups from the Tampa Bay Area decided to bid for a franchise: a St. Petersburg-based group fronted by future Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes owners Peter Karmanos and Jim Rutherford, a Tampa-based group fronted by two Hall of Famers—Phil Esposito and his brother Tony. One of the Esposito group's key backers, the Pritzker family, backed out a few months before the bid, to be replaced by a consortium of Japanese businesses headed by Kokusai Green, a golf course and resort operator.
On paper, it looked. The Esposito group would win the expansion franchise, name the team the Lightning, after Tampa Bay's status as the "Lightning Capital of North America." After being awarded the franchise, Phil Esposito installed himself as president and general manager, while Tony became chief scout. Terry Crisp, who played for the Philadelphia Flyers when they won two Stanley Cups in the mid-1970s and coached the Calgary Flames to a Stanley Cup in 1989, was tapped as the first head coach. Phil Esposito hired former teammates from the Boston Bruins of the 1970s, including former linemate Wayne Cashman as an assistant coach and former Bruin trainer John "Frosty" Forristal as the team's trainer; the inaugural team photo has him flanked by Cashman and player Ken Hodge, Jr. son of his other Bruins' linemate. The Lightning turned heads in the pre-season when Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in an NHL game, which made her the first woman to play in any of the major professional North American sports leagues.
She played for the Lightning against the St. Louis Blues, stopped seven of nine shots; the Lightning played their first regular season game on October 7, 1992 in Tampa's tiny 11,000-seat Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds. They shocked; the team shot to the top of the Campbell Conference's Norris Division within a month, behind Kontos' initial torrid scoring pace and a breakout season by forward Brian Bradley. However, it buckled under the strain of some of the longest road trips in the NHL—their nearest division rival, the Blues, were over 1,000 miles away—and finished in last place with a record of 23–54–7 for 53 points; this was, at one of the best-ever showings by an NHL expansion team. Bradley's 42 goals gave Tampa Bay fans optimism for the next season; the following season saw the Lightning shift to the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division, as well as move into the Florida Suncoast Dome in St. Petersburg, reconfigured for hockey and renamed the "ThunderDome." The team acquired goaltender Daren Puppa, left wing goal scorer Petr Klima, veteran forward Denis Savard.
While Puppa's play resulted in a significant improvement in goals allowed, Savard was long past his prime and Klima's scoring was offset by his defensive lapses. The Lightning finished last in the Atlantic Division in 1993–94 with a record of 30–43–11 for 71 points. Another disappointing season followed in the lockout-shortened 1994–95 season with a record of 17–28–3 for 37 points. In their fourth season, 1995–96, behind Bradley's team-leading 79 points, second-year forward Alexander Selivanov's 31 goals, Roman Hamrlik's All-Star year on defense, the Lightning qualified for the playoffs, posting a 38–33–12 record for 88 points and nosing out the defending Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference by a single win. Due to his stellar play in net, Puppa was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. Playing the Philadelphia Flyers, a team seen as a Stanley Cup contender, in the first round, the Lightning split the opening two games in Philadelphia before taking Game 3 in overtime before a ThunderDome crowd of 28,183.
This was the largest crowd for an NHL game, a record that stood until the 2003 Heritage Classic in Edmonton. An injury to Puppa in that game, would see the Lightning lose the next three games and the series; the Lightning moved into the Ice Palace for the 1996 -- 97 season. They had acquired goal-scorer Dino Ciccarelli from the Detroit Red Wings during the 1996 off-season, he did not disappoint, scoring 35 goals while Chris Gratton notched another 30 goals; the team appeared destined for another playoff appearance, but suffered a devastating rash of injuries. Puppa developed back trouble. Bradley lost time to a series of concussions that would limit him to a total of 49 games from 1996 until his retirement in December 1999. Center John Cullen developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma, missed the last 12 games of the 1996–97 season. Decimated by these ailments, the Light