We all know how much the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact of the world of sports, on the latest playoff run that saw the Tampa Bay Lightning come out on top with the second championship in its franchise’s history.
The team was even scolded when it gathered for a parade in front of fans last month. The Bolts were heavily criticized for fans in danger during the parades at the Tampa Riverwalk and Raymond James Stadium.
During one of the celebrations, Lightning forward Alex Killorn and other players actually allowed fans to drink alcohol out of the Stanley Cup during the parade route. Several fans were caught on top drinking directly from the Cup, one after the other like there wasn’t a global threat of a deadly pandemic around!
While the NHL was believed to have spoken with the members of the team to remind them they needed to be careful with the celebrations during the pandemic, it did not stop former NHL player and now assistant coach to the Lightning Jeff Halpern to break the rules and put more people in jeopardy.
On Tuesday, TMZ Sports reported that Halpern held a party with more than 50 people to celebrate his championship with the team. The party took place at the famous Don CeSar hotel at St. Pete Beach (22 miles from Tampa International Airport) — where the Lightning assistant coach got to spend his one day with the trophy.
Halpern clearly didn’t learn from the backlash the team got when it paraded its trophy and now we can only hope people won’t get sick and diagnosed with COVID-19 after this… While he might think this was a private party, 50 people is way too much in these circumstances and could put a lot of them in serious trouble. Some witnesses say they saw people jugging from the Cup after passing it around.
Not smart during a pandemic. With COVID numbers on the rise, passersby told TMZ that they were shocked at what they were watching.
While TMZ Sports has reached out to the team, no one from the Lightning has commented on the party and Halpern’s decision to host it during the pandemic.