Outdoor NHL game in Florida not happening next season, Panthers and Lightning will have to wait

A general view of empty stands as players warm up prior to the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on September 25, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) (JULIO AGUILAR, 2022 Getty Images)

SUNRISE, Fla. – There will not be an outdoor hockey game played in Florida during the 2023-24 NHL season.

It’s something that could still happen in the coming years, with discussions surrounding a game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers taking place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

The news of the game not happening next season was first reported by The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta.

An outdoor game in Tampa is something that Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has been working to obtain for several years, and it appears the league is getting more comfortable with the idea.

That shouldn’t come as a complete shock.

It’s been almost ten years since the NHL hosted an outdoor game in Southern California. The Los Angeles Kings hosted the Anaheim Ducks at Dodger Stadium in January of 2014.

It was the NHL’s first Stadium Series game, something that has become an annual occurrence in the seasons since.

The temperature at puck drop that day in Los Angeles was 63 degrees.

In Tampa, the average high temperature in January is 71 degrees and the average low is 53, according to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

Last week in Raleigh, where the NHL just hosted its most recent Stadium Series game over the weekend, high temperatures in the days leading up to the game were in the 70s.

Not only was the ice kept in great shape all week, but it was reportedly extremely quick.

Gotta love modern technology.

Point being, normal Tampa January temperatures should be fine for hosting an outdoor hockey game.

For now, fans of attending an outdoor game in Florida between the Panthers and Bolts will have to wait at least another couple seasons.

About the Author:

David Dwork joined the WPLG Local 10 News team in August 2019. Born and raised in Miami-Dade County, David has covered South Florida sports since 2007.