Imagine in a bizzaro world were the St.Petersburg Ownership group fronted by Peter Karmanos and Jim Rutherford won out over Tampa Bay hockey godfather Phil Esposito’s Tampa Ownership group that would in the real world become the Tampa Bay Lightning we all know and love.
If I had it my way the team would be called the St.Petersburg Gasporillas featuring a skeletal pirate ghost similar to the Milwaukee Admirals logo. The Gasporillas home would of course be the beloved Thunder Dome, which in fact the Lightning would call home from 93-96. Imagine a dark blue lit arena, with a Tampa Bay Buccaneers esque ghost pirate ship that would fire every time the Gasporillas score a goal. A loud “Argggggggggh!” would fill the area breaking the oppositions morale. Just picture John Carpenter’s “The Fog.” meets NHL.
Even though St.Petersburg didn’t win the expansion war due to only being able to offer $29 Million as opposed to Espositos $50 Million expansion fee, its safe to say the Tampa Bay Lightning represent the whole Tampa Bay Area very well and it’s so dope the Bolts called the ThunderDome home, even if it was short but sweet.