TAMPA, FL – The gold medal-winning 2018 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team will take a victory lap, or two, around center ice at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on Wednesday, Feb. 28, as part of the team’s victory tour.
Tampa Bay fans will officially welcome the women’s hockey team home at the Tampa Bay Lightning home game against the Buffalo Sabres, which begins at 7 p.m.
The 23 team members, wearing their Olympic gold medals and Team USA jerseys, will participate in a ceremonial puck drop at the Lightning game.
On Tuesday, Feb. 27, the Olympic team appeared on the Ellen talk show and were honored at a Los Angeles Kings home game against the Vegas Golden Knights before heading to familiar turf, umm… ice, in Tampa.
The team became very familiar with Tampa while training all summer at Florida Hospital Center Ice in Wesley Chapel, a new ice sports facility that opened a year ago.
All of the team members except one, who hails from California, are from Northern states: Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Massachusetts and Vermont.
So the opportunity to spend five months in the Sunshine State was a bonus, even if most of the time was spent in an ice-cold training facility.
Now, team members will have a chance to thank their Tampa Bay hosts as well as share some of their glory with the Tampa Bay fans who enthusiastically cheered the team on as it defeated Canada, 3-2, in a shootout to win the gold medal Feb. 22 in Gangneung, South Korea.
This is the women’s ice hockey team’s second gold medal. Its first was awarded at the Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, in 1998.
Gold medal winners the United States celebrate after defeating Canada in a shootout in the Women’s Gold Medal Game on Day 13 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Hockey Centre Feb. 22 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)