Not many people outside of Florida expected the Tampa Bay Lightning to march to the Stanley Cup Finals. In return, they won't be letting anyone outside of Florida in.
The team's ticket policy for their home Cup Finals games restricts sales to in-state customers only. Purchases with out-of-state credit cards aren't permitted through the Lightning's Ticketmaster portal.
Predictably, Chicago Blackhawks people aren't thrilled.
Via Aaron Mesmer of MyFox Tampa Bay:
Dan Bernstein, who hosts the Boers and Bernstein Show on the Chicago CBS Sports Radio station 670 The Score, ripped the policies Monday in a column and on his radio show.
"That organization - what a bunch of jackholes with this ticket policy," Bernstein said at the beginning of his show. "I wrote about it today, just about what a ridiculous, pathetic policy it is for a podunk market."
Sticking to the script, Lightning staffers maintain that the move is simply best for the community. "Ultimately we're doing the best we can to create a hometown environment for the Lightning," said Billy Wickett, Tampa's Executive Vice President for Communications.
This policy came up in 2014, when the Seattle Seahawks essentially blocked San Francisco 49ers from attending the NFC Championship Game at CenturyLink Field. The NHL's Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues have also utilized this postseason strategy.
Game 1 puck-drop at Amalie Arena is set for 8 p.m. ET. If you're not a Florida resident, enjoy the television broadcast.