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Lightning celebrate Stanley Cup title with boat parade

The Tampa Bay Lightning celebrated their Stanley Cup title with a boat parade and ceremonies Wednesday at Raymond James Stadium.

The boat parade featured forward Alex Killorn on a jet-ski with Steven Stamkos riding on the back as they held up the Stanley Cup and did laps around the boats in the Hillsborough River. The parade was followed by a public trophy celebration at the stadium with a capped attendance of 16,000 people.

“We’re excited to share this with Tampa,” Killorn said. “I know they weren’t here throughout the series and in the bubble, but this is our time to enjoy it with them because (the fans) are a big part of this team.”

Tampa Bay Lightning' Victor Hedman pours a drink from the Stanley Cup into the mouth of Steven Stamkos during the NHL hockey Stanley Cup champions' boat parade, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. At left is Luke Shenn. (Dirk ShaddTampa Bay Times via AP)

Among the highlights of the celebration was a video package of the Lightning’s playoff run and a congratulatory video message from ESPN broadcaster and Lightning season-ticket holder Dick Vitale.

The players returned to Tampa on Tuesday after being in the NHL’s “bubble” in Toronto and Edmonton for the past 65 days. They were greeted at the airport by their families and held a private on-ice ceremony for friends and family.

Lightning owner Jeff Vinik said that the circumstances in which the Lightning won the Stanley Cup make it an even more impressive feat than winning in a normal year.

Tampa Bay Lightning' Steven Stamkos, Luke Shenn and Victor Hedman spray Champagne while Shenn holds the Stanley Cup during the NHL hockey Stanley Cup champions' boat parade, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (Dirk ShaddTampa Bay Times via AP)

“This was not only a hockey Stanley Cup,” Vinik said. “This was a mental Stanley Cup to get through that period of time. Kudos to them and kudos to their families for being so supportive. That’s a long time away from home and I don’t think any of us can appreciate how tough that was.”

Members of the Tampa Bay Lightning make their way down the Hillsborough River as they are greeted by fans during the NHL hockey Stanley Cup champions' boat parade, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (Luis SantanaTampa Bay Times via AP)

Tampa Bay Lightning fans gather along the Tampa Riverwalk during the NHL hockey Stanley Cup champions' boat parade, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (Ivy CeballoTampa Bay Times via AP)

Tampa Bay Lightning' Steven Stamkos, left, stands on a boat as Victor Hedman hoists the Stanley Cup during the NHL hockey Stanley Cup champions' boat parade, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (Dirk ShaddTampa Bay Times via AP)

People on a bridge applaud during a boat parade for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who won the NHL hockey Stanley Cup, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (Dirk ShaddTampa Bay Times via AP)

Tampa Bay Lightning fans cheer from the Tampa Riverwalk as they watch the NHL hockey Stanley Cup champions' boat parade, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (Ivy CeballoTampa Bay Times via AP)

Tampa Bay Lightning's Alex Killorn spreads his arms wide at the front of a boat during the NHL hockey Stanley Cup champions' boat parade, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (Dirk ShaddTampa Bay Times via AP)

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper, right, steadies the Prince of Wales trophy as his boat is launched for the NHL hockey Stanley Cup champions' boat parade, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (Dirk ShaddTampa Bay Times via AP)