Philadelphia/ Sports
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Published on February 28, 2024
Flyers and Lightning Play Through Power Outage at Philly's Wells Fargo CenterSource: SamHolt6, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It was a dimly lit battle at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday when the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning faced off as a power outage plunged parts of the arena into shadows during the first period. With the Flyers already on the scoreboard and less than 14 minutes on the clock, sections of the venue went dark, halting play and activating the emergency lighting system. About 75% of the arena kept the lights on, leaving players and fans to squint in the gloom, as reported by the AP.

The puck dropped again after a brief nine-minute suspension, the teams skating and shooting in conditions that Flyers coach John Tortorella described pretty bluntly, stating he "really don’t give a s— what Ers was, we’re up 1-0" when discussing whether the goalie was content to play with low visibility, in a conversation with Sporting News. Players reported an alteration in the playing environment, defenseman Travis Sanheim likened it to an outdoor game due to the darkness and rising temperatures affecting the ice quality.

Amidst the unusual conditions, which foisted a sensory blackout of sorts—the LEDs, scoreboard, and sound system flickering out—rookie Tyson Foerster capitalized on the odd atmosphere, breaking a tie in the third period and later recounting to The Athletic how it felt "super dead in there" sans the usual arena music and fanfare. It wasn't until the second period's start that the ice was fully visible again and the sound system finally kicked back in, blaring The Rolling Stones to mark its return.

Sean Walker of the Flyers weighed in on the atypical scenario stating, "Definitely kind of weird. That’s the first time it’s ever happened for me, and I’m sure most guys," in a statement obtained by The Athletic, embracing the challenge as the players and fans adapted to the darker setting, illustrating the unpredictable nature of live sports where even a power snag can't dim the competitive spirit. One LED ring limped back to life in the third, while the other stayed dark as the game played out, the Flyers navigating the murk to ultimately shine brighter than the Lightning.