INAUGURAL LIGHTNING COLLEGE HOCKEY CLASSIC TO BE PLAYED THIS OCTOBER
EMBASSY SUITES HOTEL TAMPA-DOWNTOWN
The St. Pete Times Forum will play host to a four-team NCAA Division I hockey tournament, The Lightning College Hockey Classic, on Friday, October 27 and Saturday, October 28. The inaugural tournament features Notre Dame, Army, Air Force, and the University of Alabama-Huntsville, and Embassy Suites Hotel Tampa-Downtown has agreed to be the presenting sponsor for the tournament. Notre Dame will serve as the host institution for the Lightning College Hockey Classic presented by Embassy Suites Hotel Tampa-Downtown, and the Fighting Irish are scheduled to play in the event for at least three years.
"As we prepare to host the NCAA Frozen Four in 2012, we look forward to establishing a regular college hockey presence in Tampa Bay," said Ron Campbell, president of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the St. Pete Times Forum. "Ideally we will host the College Hockey Classic each year during the holiday season but I would like to thank Notre Dame, Army, Air Force and Alabama-Huntsville, host institution for our Frozen Four, for joining us this October.
"Also, we thank Embassy Suites Hotel Tampa-Downtown for partnering with the Times Forum to bring college hockey to Tampa Bay. As a new property in the Channelside District and the headquarters hotel for the Lightning College Hockey Classic, the addition of Embassy Suites' is a welcomed one for Tampa's downtown. We are excited to be working closely with Embassy Suites Hotel Tampa-Downtown and its management in presenting this event."
"The Tampa Bay area is a major center of sports activity, at the professional as well as the collegiate level. Because of our hotel's proximity to the Forum, and because of the excellence both the St. Pete Times Forum and Embassy Suites represent, we see this as an ideal partnership that will bring great benefits to both parties," said Jeff Weinthaler, general manager of the Embassy Suites Hotel Tampa-Downtown Convention Center.
Scheduled to open in September, the new convention center headquarters hotel is the first all service, all-suites property to be built downtown. It represents downtown's first hotel to boast the Embassy Suites flag. The 20-story, 360-suite hotel is owned and developed by WPM Construction LLC.
"Downtown Tampa continues to develop as a dynamic destination with the addition of this stellar hotel and the outstanding schedule of sports and entertainment events held at the Times Forum. We look forward to supporting the Lightning College Hockey Classic, Frozen Four, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Storm and all of the other athletic events that are such vital and popular assets for our area," Weinthaler said.
Tickets for the Lightning College Hockey Classic presented by Embassy Suites Tampa-Downtown will go on sale August 4. Notre Dame will play Army and Air Force will play Alabama-Huntsville on Friday, October 27 with consolation and championship games being played on Saturday, October 28. Game times will be 5 and 8 pm each day. More ticket information will follow, however, Tampa Bay Lightning season ticket holders and fans purchasing tickets for both nights will receive discounted pricing.
Beginning with the 2007 Men's ACC Basketball Championship, the Times Forum is scheduled to play host to some of the top college events in the nation over the next several years, including the NCAA Women's Final Four in 2008, the first and second round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship in 2008, the Southeastern Conference Men's Basketball Championship in 2009, the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship in 2009 and the NCAA Frozen Four in 2012.
Embassy Suites Hotels is a part of Hilton Hotels Corporation, an internationally recognized, preeminent hospitality company. The company develops, owns, manages or franchises more than 2,100 hotels, resorts and vacation ownership properties. Its portfolio includes many of the world's best known and most highly regarded hotel brands, including Hilton, Conrad Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations Club and Homewood Suites by Hilton.