Amalie Arena-Good Luck Finding A Ticket Rangers Fans

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Despite the supposed “playoff policies” at Amalie Arena, those shouldn’t deter the New York Rangers faithful from staying away for Games 3 and 4

With the focus of the Eastern Conference Final shifting down Interestate-95 to the sunshine state known as Florida, the Blueshirt faithful will surely follow the boys and represent the boys in droves. I mean after all, it is the NHL playoffs.

Fans of the New York Rangers are amongst the NHL team that has a strong and overwhelming fan base.

However, the task of watching and supporting the beloved Rangers may prove a difficult task.

What awaits them at Amalie Arena, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning, is a form of “home-ice advantage” to the extreme. As Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz once said, “There’s no place like home.”

Restricted Access

A questionable policy that the Lightning organization these playoffs has been enforcing a restricted ticket policy. In so many words, playoff tickets that are purchased must accompany a billing address in the state of Florida. Any other states need not apply. That means fans in New York will need to get sneaky in how they purchase tickets. In an article posted by ESPN last month, the Lightning are determined to limit the amount of the opposing team’s fans by limiting ticket sales to Florida residents.

Lightning Vice-President of Communications Bill Wickett says the team doesn’t “feel the need to apologize” for limiting the number of visiting team fans in the Amalie Arena.

Hmmm, a little home brewing. In a way, one could understand their position. They’d like the arena to be kept “in-house”, meaning Rangers fans will need to devise a way to invade the Tampa arena.

However, you have to question the ethics of this bold stance. It’s not illegal, no. There’s no set rule in the NHL that says a team can restrict tickets to a certain few. Yet.

But, we are all fans. If Rangers fans are willing to shell out the same amount of, if not more, money that a Lightning fan does, why should they not be turned away? As per their policy, if tickets were already purchased using a credit card, the organization will promptly refund those purchased with a non-Florida billing address.

In a separate April article published on thehockeynews.com, they reported “…there will be no notice of the termination of the order, but it will be done.”

At least, they gave non-Lightning fans courtesy. For Rangers fans, it looks like you have to know someone in the sunshine state to get in the arena for Games 3 & 4.

Here’s an idea: what if a Rangers fan asks family member or friend, who is a legal Floridian, to purchase tickets for them, using their Florida billing address. But, they use a non-Florida address to mail the tickets to? Technically, it would not be in violation of the policy because it states the billing address must be in Florida.

Just food for thought.

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You can’t wear that, here

If you were one of the few Rangers fans lucky enough to get playoff tickets for this Eastern Conference Final matchup, you’d still have another obstacle to overcome. Your team’s colors will not be permitted.

This should be clarified. It is not the intention of the organization to completely block out the arena to Rangers fans wearing the team’s colors. No, you can wear them anywhere except specified locations. Per amaliearena.com, they provide sections within the arena that prohibits wearing of non-Lightning colors or apparel.

It does not appear to be that bad, considering the locations. The lower bowl seating areas, as well as upper level seats are still non-Lightning colors friendly. If it were an arena-wide policy, perhaps it would have been more of an issue.

Nonetheless, it is still questionable which refers back to the earlier policy of selling to Florida residents. If a fan purchased a ticket into the designated areas and wanted to wear the colors of their beloved team, in this case the Rangers, why should they be asked to take off their team’s colors? Again, hard-earned money was spent and one should have the right to wear what they want, within reason of course.

A question was brought up about another scenario. What if a child was attending their first hockey game at Amalie Arena. They are a fan of the Lightning. Their father, who was a fan of the Lightning for the regular season and playoffs except against the Rangers because he was originally from New York and a die-hard fan, wanted to show his support. Per the arena’s policy, he would be asked to take off his colors if he were to watch the game with his son. Or, assuming this is further policy, he would be turned away and separated from his child for the duration of the game for refusing to take off his Rangers pride.

Plenty of questions that should call attention to the NHL higher-ups. When is restrictive fandom taken too far, all for the sake of promoting a home team’s chances of winning?

We are all grown-ups here, and should be treated as such.

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