Les Canadiens de Montreal Sweep Tampa Bay Lightning

Comprenez-vous? No, I don’t understand how the Lightning’s great 101 points season could end up in a playoff sweep loss to the Les Habitants! It’s all french to me. BUT, wait until next year, the foundation is set.

The Lightning Girls are a very cohesive group of talented young ladies who obviously enjoy their entertaining gig and the sorority friendships they have established. Hope to see most of them back next season. I added some season end photos to the back of my album. Enjoy.


Crystal, Co-captain



Alexis, Kori & Megan

Erica & Isabella

Alyssa, Allison & Heather

Stephanie, Allison, Kelsey, Heather & Crystal

Heather, Marissa (Co-captain) & Cher

Courtney, Kelsey & Stephanie

[Lightning Girls Gallery]

[Lightning Girls Website]

All In The Family For Tampa Cheerleaders

It’s all in the family for these attractive Tampa cheerleaders. Karen Bittinger of the Buccaneers and her younger sister Alyssa, a first year Hockey Lightning Girl, are both energizing the Tampa Bay fans into rooting for their respective teams.

Karen has been dancing on the Buc’s sideline for the last 3 years and prior to that was skating and performing as a Lightning Girl over 4 seasons and also did a stint as a member of the Rays cheer squad at Tropicana Field. A line co-captain the last two years, Karen narrated the Buccaneer’s nutritional and fitness education presentations on the team’s web site. Karen is a certified fitness professional who teaches group BodyAttack, a high intensity cross fit cardio exercise program. She proudly admits to being a passionate gym rat so look her up if you’re ready to tackle your overdue new year resolution to get into shape.

Sweet baby sister Alyssa also exhibits great athleticism as she won Summit, held at Disney World, the largest national (maybe world?) cheerleading competition. Alyssa maintains a very busy schedule between cheering, coaching, work and college classes. Along with Karen, Alyssa enjoys training and mentoring youth for the nationally acclaimed Florida Top Dog All Stars (cheer performers). Alyssa is getting to experience the added excitement of NHL Playoffs this year and Karen will be cheering on the cheerleaders.

These two women are intense and competitive so of course I had to ask some tough questions–who’s abs are tighter, who’s prettier? They both got one vote each. Haha. Two classy, talented young ladies–they represent Tampa Bay well. Their photogenic features make my job easy.

Karen & Alyssa representing their teams at Tampa’s Gasparilla Parade

Karen & Alyssa coaching at cheerleader tournament

Karen at last year’s draft day party

Thank goodness Karen doesn’t know when to come out of the rain

Karen during 2013 season

Alyssa at opening game of playoffs

Alyssa pregame on the Thunder Plaza

Alyssa with teammate Isabella

[Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders]

[Tampa Bay Lightning Girls]

Lightning Girls Are Striking Hot In December

The Tampa Bay Lightning had a nice hot streak in mid December with 5 straight victories and they have positioned themselves well for the upcoming long stretch run to the playoffs. But—let’s be honest here–the attached photos clearly show that much of performance electricity in the Times Forum is being generated by the Lightning Girls. The ladies performed in their fan favorite Winter White outfits during Christmas week and then they unveiled their 2014 calendar (link) at a nice launch party before the last home game.

Enjoy the photos:

Alyssa and Courtney


Crystal and Allison

Alexis and Lindsey

Erica, Cher, Kelsey, Alexis, Allison and Isabella

Stephanie, Marissa and Brittany

Courtney, Erica and Heather

Clemons Road Band performs in the nightly “Hockey Paradise” pre-game introductory video

[Lightning Girls Gallery]

[Tampa Bay Lightning Girls]

[Lightning Girls Calendar]

Photo of the Day – December 23

Tampa Lightning Girls Cher and Isabella in Holiday Whites

Tampa Bay Lightning Girl, Alexis, Goes Hollywood

Second year Lightning Girl, Alexis, has been busily filming out in California as a eligible bachelorette in the 18th edition of ABC’s THE BACHELOR. The show is due to air in January and the word is mum around the Tampa Bay Times Forum. I usually disappear to the man cave when my bride has that show on but I guess I’ll have to hang tough this year. The dedication I have to Tampa Cheerleaders–oh well.

Alexis is sweet, attractive and talented—nice combo. A tidbit from her bio is: Salutatorian of her High School, played fast pitch softball for 15 years as a pitcher and currently works in Public Relations.

Check out the intro video of Alexis and her teammates on the Lightning web page.

Alexis on opening night.

Alexis cheering on the Lightning.

Alexis volunteering during Tampa’s Heart Walk.

Holiday photo of Crystal, Courtney, Alexis and Alison. (credit: Scott Audette)

[Lightning Girls Gallery]

[Tampa Bay Lightning Girls]

Tampa’s Historic Rialto Theatre Morphs Into Collaborative Space For Creatives

(We’re always happy to pass along news of what alumni are doing now. Hope Donnely cheered/danced for the Tampa bay Buccaneers, Orlando Magic and Tampa Bay Storm, as well as coaching/directing the TB Storm Dancers, TB Lightning Girls and the University of Tampa Cheer and Dance Tams)

By Megan Hendricks
83 Degrees Media

Hope Donnelly started this year with a mantra: “If you’re not scared, your dreams are not big enough.”

Her dream? To create a place that provides a sense of community, self-preservation and exploration of arts and creativity in a safe, supportive environment.

Donnelly’s dream is one step closer to reality as she begins renovations on the Rialto Theatre on north Franklin Street between Interstate 275 and Palm Avenue. Under the business name 8-Count Productions, the 10,500-square-foot space will soon be home to art galleries and other space for small businesses, two dance studios for private lessons and group classes, and event space for up to 300 people.

An Eckerd College graduate, painter and former professional dancer, Donnelly teaches art at Jefferson High School in Tampa by day.

She first had the vision for the space five years ago and has had her share of typical entrepreneurial challenges — finding the right real estate, obtaining funding, and general fear of the unknown. After contacting numerous banks, she found that most tried to make the business plan fit within their parameters. She finally obtained funding through a Synovus Bank’s Small Business Administration Loans program loan officer, who believed in the vision and found a product to fit her needs. Additional grant funding is being sought from arts and historical organizations, including the City of Tampa Historic Preservation Department. All in all, $500,000 is anticipated in renovations alone.

She credits her success thus far to the learning opportunities she has experienced in different professional environments, as well as the support of friends and mentors. The tipping point was when she met her fiance and business partner, George Carter II, who supported the vision with his heart and soul and is now an equal part of the creation. Carter will also provide choreography and photography services in the new building.

“It’s easy to get run down by the challenges, because there will be challenges,” says Donnelly. “But, having other people getting excited about the project helps keep me going. The sense of community has been amazing.”

Donnelly and Carter closed on the building October 15 and celebrated with a rooftop sunset toast with those who played a part in making it possible. Next steps include obtaining permits from the city that will allow the interior work to begin.

Donnelly was adamant about finding space in or near downtown Tampa, feeling that the area has so much talent and vision that it just hasn’t connected yet. She was also looking for walkability and a neighborhood feel in an urban environment. “We’re building a lifestyle, not just a business.”

Collaborative Space

The theater was constructed in 1925 and first opened its doors in 1926. It has been vacant since 2005, at which time it had been used as an auto repair shop. The renovation plans are to keep the historic nature of the theater in tact while adding a contemporary feel.

With dance classes and events mainly taking place after hours, small businesses will be able to use the space during the day for studios, galleries, video shoots, photo shoots and the like. This multifaceted approach challenges the typical dance studio or event space business model, which can be tough to maintain because of unused space during daytime hours.

“There is no right business model,” says Donnelly. “There is no right profession or business concept. What makes you happy can find its way into a lifestyle, making an income, generating enough to support yourself.”

Renovations are scheduled to be completed by Thanksgiving, allowing the space to be open for holiday events. The business will be fully functional in January 2014.

As for conquering fears, Donnelly recommends a mind over matter philosophy: “Talk about it often. The more you talk about it, the more likely it’s going to happen.”

Tampa Bay Lightning’s Salute To Military

The Lightning won a hard fought 4 to 2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Military Appreciation night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Video tributes were presented throughout the evening in recognition of our military veterans and active duty members. Some fifty plus recruits took to the ice during an intermission ceremony to take the enlistment oath of service as witness by a near capacity crowd. Every military branch was represented. A real “feel good” atmosphere.

The Lightning Girls donned their camouflage shirts as they mingled among fans during the night. They also tried on 40 lbs of gear and parachute equipment during pre game demo’s on the Thunder Alley Plaza.

We added photos to the back of our Lightning Girls album–enjoy. Happy Veterans Day to everyone.

Lightning Girls with our United States Marines.

Kori, Alyssa, Army Soldier Allor, Erica, Stephanie

Crystal, Cher and Lindsey

Courtney, Marissa & Megan.


[Lightning Girls Gallery]

[Tampa Bay Lightning Girls]

Tampa Bay Lightning Girls Open Home Schedule

Tampa Bay is off to a respectable start this NHL season and the 2013-14 edition of the Lightning Girls are pumping up their fans nightly in a nearly sold out Times Forum. Jeff Vinik, the Lightning’s present owner, continues to upgrade the Hockey experience with additional dining options and other amenities plus masterful home ice will add to game night enjoyment.

The impressive squad of Lightning Girls continue to mingle with the fans through out the evening attempting to visit every tier and section of the arena. Co-captains this year are two young veteran ladies, Crystal (5th year) and Marissa (4th year). Enjoy the photos from the first few games:

Co-captain Crystal

Co-captain Marissa

Kelsey & Courtney

Allison, Kori and Stephanie

Alyssa, Lindsey, Erica, Courtney and Brittany

Megan and Alexis

Buc’s Cheerleaders Tricia and Kari out on opening night supporting the Lightning Girls

Ayssa, Isabella, Kori, Lindsey, Alexis, Allison, Megan & Marissa

[Lightning Girls Gallery]

[Tampa Bay Lightning Girls]

Photo of the Day – October 14

Tampa Lightning Girls Erica & Heather at home opener win over Panthers.

Tampa Bay Lightning Fan Fest

Tampa Bay Lightning Fan Fest

The 2013-14 Lightning Girls were out Saturday welcoming hockey fanatical’s to the Team’s Annual Fan Fest. The squad has 6 rookies on the 15 member crew. Crystal and Marissa are co-captains. The home opener is scheduled for October 10 versus the Florida Panthers.


Erica and Crystal

Brittany, Crystal, Alyssa, Kelsey, Kori, Erica, Isabella and Marissa

[Lightning Girl Fan Fest Gallery]

[Tampa Bay Lightning Girls]

Congrats, 2013-14 Tampa Bay Lightning Girls

Alexis and Kori are returning as the audition results have been posted for the 2013-14 Lighting Girls.

2013-14 Lightning Girls:






Kelsey M
Isabella M
Erica K
Stephanie K
Cher H
Alyssa G

Photo of the Day – July 30

A Tampa Bay Lighting Girls Alexis & Kori

Tampa Bay Lightning Girls

The Playoff light remains lit but it’s a very dim flame right now. Here’s hoping we’ll get a few extra postseason games for the Lightning Girls. Check back next week for the unveiling of which girls will be moving across town to cheer in the NFL. (Hint: they are pretty and talented). We added a batch of photos to our album, enjoy.

Captain Crystal, Alexis, Courtney, Meagan and Marissa.

Crystal and Kori.

Heather, Kori, Lindsey, Lizzie and Brianna.

Lindsey, Meagan and Lizzie.

Saundra and Alexis.

Brianna and Lindsey.


Alexis and Allison.

[Lightning Girls Gallery]

[Tampa Bay Lightning Girls]

Tampa Lightning Girls Perform To Capacity Crowds

Sold out crowds are becoming the norm at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. It could be because of the exciting winning hockey but I also think that the Lightning Girls are drawing more fannies to the seats. The NHL is a must see in person, television doesn’t do it justice and the Lightning organization knows how to enhance the fan and family experience with ticket specials, plaza entertainment and happy hour pricing before the puck drops. The third floor outdoor deck offers great panoramic views of the Tampa skyline and stays open for post-game TV and Radio shows. Come on down to the Forum, the hockey is being played at a playoff type fever—catch it while you can.

In concert with the Lightning’s 20th season anniversary theme here’s a few tidbits regarding the origin of the Lightning Girls. The LG’s were first seen on the sidelines in 1993 but after one short season did not resurface until 2002. In the beginning they were designated as “Ice Girls” helping Mr. Zamboni clean the skating surface during breaks. Over the years they left the ice to engage more with the spectators in the stands and suites and perform more dance routines. They now represent the Lightning as ambassadors in the Tampa Bay area and make a multitude of community appearances during the season. Many alumni have moved over to continue their cheerleading career with the NFL Bucs or AFL Storm. Enjoy the photos.

Crystal is captain in her fourth year. Kori is a rookie.

Brianna and the Lightning Vision Statement greeting fans at the entrance.

Alexis, Meagan, Lizzie, Courtney and Brianna.

Rookie Saundra and 3rd year Heather with Cap’t Crystal.

Allison is in her first year.

Kori, Lindsey, Allison, Saundra, Lizzie, Heather and Marissa on the outdoor deck between periods.

Lindsey (squared) 5th year and 1st year respectively

Lizzie, Allison and Courtney.

[Lightning Girl Gallery]

[Lightning Girls Official Webpage]

The NHL Returns This Weekend

Hockey is back. The Tampa Bay Lightning Girls were out this past Sunday to welcome fans back for the 2013 abbreviated season which will start this coming Saturday at home versus the Washington Capitals. Hooray!!

 Marissa, Alexis and Heather

Marissa, Alexis and Heather

Saundra and Alexis

Saundra and Alexis

Lizzie, Allison and Heather

Lizzie, Allison and Heather

[Tampa Bay Lightning Girls]