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Tampa Bay Lightning will wait to raise Stanley Cup banner until fans can be at arena

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 2021-01-14 Mike Brehm, USA TODAY
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Fans weren't in the NHL playoff bubble in Edmonton last fall when the Tampa Bay Lightning won their first Stanley Cup championship since 2004.

And fans weren't there on NHL opening night Wednesday night at Amalie Arena, per order of local health officials due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

So how do you hold a banner raising ceremony without your fans?

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You don't.

In a nice touch, the Lightning said they would wait.

"In sports, they say trophies are for the teams, rings are for the players and banners are for the fans," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said in a pre-recorded message to fans. "It’s those championship banners that link generations of hockey fans together with the teams that they love. ... So we’ve decided to wait to raise the banner to the rafters until you’re back in our house."

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But the Lightning wanted to let the team see what it had played for last season and held a banner "reveal." With the Stanley Cup also on the ice, the banner was raised high enough for players, coaches and family members to see.

a group of people on a stage in front of a crowd: The Tampa Bay Lightning teammates reveal their Stanley Cup banner to players before the home opener. © Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports The Tampa Bay Lightning teammates reveal their Stanley Cup banner to players before the home opener.

There were plenty of cheers amid the piped-in crowd noise.

The Lightning, even with top scorer Nikita Kucherov missing for the regular season, are  considered one of the Stanley Cup favorites this season.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tampa Bay Lightning will wait to raise Stanley Cup banner until fans can be at arena

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