USF Ice Bulls

The Olympic journey of the U.S. women's hockey team ended in South Korea with a gold medal. One of their earlier stops on that trip was in the Tampa Bay area.

The largest ice sports complex in the Southeastern United States will open in Wesley Chapel on Thursday.

After a year of construction, Florida Hospital Center Ice has three NHL-size rinks an Olympic rink and a mini-rink.

“It’s the largest ice rink south of New York,” said Managing Partner of Florida Hospital Center Ice Gordie Zimmermann.  “Mostly all the way to California there’s nothing of this scale.”

The facility will host hockey events, including University of South Florida practices and the Men's Adult Nationals.

The Associated Press

Brian Boyle delivered a hard hit and then took advantage of a lucky carom to get the Tampa Bay Lightning a big playoff win.

Boyle scored at 2:48 of overtime to lift the Lightning to a 5-4 victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night for a 2-1 lead in their second-round series.

Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik says the team will spend more than $6 million over the next five years to expand the sport of youth hockey in the region.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Although the Tampa Bay Lightning fell just shy of winning hockey's coveted Stanley Cup - the team's general manager captured top honors Wednesday night.

The Lightning's Steve Yzerman was voted the National Hockey League's general manager of the year and received the trophy at the NHL's Awards Show in Las Vegas.

The league's 30 club general managers, a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media voted on the award at the conclusion of the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The final voting totals include points for first, second and third place.

Channelside Benefits from Lightning's Success

Jun 3, 2015
Photo Courtesy of Channelside Bay Plaza, Tampa Facebook

Businesses along Tampa's Channelside District are crediting the Tampa Bay Lightning's success this season for an increase in business.

Shops and restaurants have seen an uptick in the number of visitors, which business owners said is unusual for this time of year.

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Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

When Matthew Meyer tells people he plays hockey for the USF Ice Bulls, he usually gets the same questions.  

"'Does USF really have a hockey team?' or 'How do you play hockey in Florida?' Something of that nature," the senior accounting major and team captain said. "Usually my answer is, you know, 'Hockey can be played anywhere, and it’s not like you’re playing outside.'"

As a matter of fact, the Ice Bulls have been playing for 25 years.

But the reason you probably haven’t heard of the team is because, at USF, hockey is classified as a "club sport."

Douglas Jones / US Presswire

Even though the bay area doesn't have any schools playing NCAA Division I men's ice hockey, the Tampa Bay Times Forum will once again serve as host for the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championships in 2016.

It will be the second time Tampa hosts the Frozen Four. Boston College beat Ferris State 4-1 to win the championship in 2012.

The University of Alabama in Huntsville - the closest school to field a Division I hockey team at the time - was the host school for that tournament.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning have named Jon Cooper as the eighth head coach in team history, picking a man familiar to many of the players who will suit up for him.

Cooper takes over the job opened up by Sunday's firing of Guy Boucher. For the past three seasons, Cooper coached the Lightning's top minor league affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals, from 2010-2012 and this season was with the Syracuse Crunch.

After a hot start to the shortened NHL season turned cold, the Tampa Bay Lightning now sit just three points from the bottom of the league's standings. As a result, general manager Steve Yzerman decided to make a move, firing coach Guy Boucher shortly after Saturday's 5-3 loss at Ottawa.