Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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Lightning town hall meeting, what questions do you want answered?
Posted May 11, 2009 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated May 11, 2009 at 10:50 AM
Tonight is the second town hall meeting the Lightning will hold under new ownership led by Oren Koules and Len Barrie. Tonight’s setting will begin at 7 p.m. with open micorphones set up for fans to ask questions directly to general manager Brian Lawton, Koules and soon-to-be-announced head coach Rick Tocchet. There are no restrictions on what you can ask, as long as everything is presented in a respectable manner.
The first time this was done back in July, there was a sense of optimism after the free agency period brought in sweeping changes to the roster and there was an awful lot of optimism. But after a 29th place finish and some questionable roster decisions having been made along the way, there is a lot more pessimism surrounding the franchise on many levels.
So, I obviously will be in attendance somewhere in the building (assuming they let me in ) listening to what transpires. While the expected announcement of Rick Tocchet as head coach will be a newsworthy item coming out of the event, I’m very curious to see what you the fans have to ask and how things transpire.
So I want to know, who is actually going to attend the event (free food and $1 beers never hurt to bring in attendance) and what questions do you want to hear answered by the team brass? Judging from comments left on this blog throughout the year and from emails I have received, there are plenty of unhappy patrons (though not all) with the direction the team has taken in the past 11 months.
Here is the information on tonight’s events:
The Tampa Bay Lightning will host a “Town Hall Meeting” on Monday, May 11 at the St. Pete Times Forum from 6-9 p.m. The event is free and open to the general public with special features for season ticket holders.
Beginning at 6 p.m. there will be a used equipment sale on the arena floor of the St. Pete Times Forum. Items to be sold were formerly used by Lightning players. Assistant Equipment Managers Rob Kennedy and Clay Roffer will be available to answer any questions. The equipment sale will close at 7 p.m. and reopen after the question and answer session, which will also be taking place on the arena floor. Lightning defenseman Andrej Meszaros will sign autographs from 6-7 p.m.
The question and answer session will begin around 7 p.m. Owner and Governor Oren Koules, Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton and Coach Rick Tocchet will answer questions from fans in a town hall format. There will be reserved seating for season ticket holders. There will be multiple microphones available for all fans to ask questions.
There will be plenty more to do after the question and answer session. The Lightning Locker Room will open for tours, including tours of the medical room by Head Athletic Trainer Tom Mulligan and Assistant Athletic Trainer Mike Poirier. Kennedy and Roffer will also be on hand to answer general questions about the locker room. Tocchet and defenseman Paul Ranger will also be available for autographs from 8-9 p.m.
All fans must check in at the Jeep Club Entrance before entering the event. Free parking will be available in the VIP East and West Lots on a first come, first serve basis.
Season ticket holders can meet their client sales manager in the XO VIP Club or have their questions answered by Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brad Lott and his staff on the event floor.
All fans arriving at the event will receive a mini-bobble head and have an opportunity to enter to win game-worn jerseys from Evgeny Artyukhin, Ryan Malone and Ryan Craig as well as tickets to other events at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Once inside, fans can take photos with ThunderBug, play in the inflatable shootout and joust games, and check out the youth hockey table. Lightning merchandise will be on sale for up to 50 percent off the retail price. There will also be free snack mix, popcorn, soda and water, while hotdogs and beer will each be $1.
Lightning Hockey Night, the Lightning’s weekly radio show, will air live from the event on 620 WDAE from 7-9 p.m. The show will be hosted by former Lightning players, and Stanley Cup Champions, Dave Andreychuk and Chris Dingman.