The Tampa Bay Lightning are a relatively young hockey team, with Tampa Bay Lightning merchandise sales still in its infancy, but growing every season. Founded in 1992, the Lightning finally made it in Tampa bay as a result of a major campaign by the city of Tampa, along with NHL legend Phil Esposito, in an effort to bring a hockey team to the city, even though Tampa Bay Lightning t-shirts were bound to be more popular in the warm city than Tampa Bay Lightning sweatshirts. Despite the seemingly un-hockey-like weather, the team quickly picked up a growing fan base, and Tampa Bay Lightning hats could be found throughout the bay area.
While the lightning showed lackluster performance and low rankings through their first ten years of hockey, the Lightning finally hit their stride in 2002/2003, when they made it to the playoffs, and Tampa Bay Lightning apparel sales really took off. Then, the team truly arrived when they won their first Stanley Cup in the 2003/2004 season, with Tampa Bay Lightning Jerseys, goalie Khabibulin printed on their backs, filling the stadium. The 2004/2005 season saw Tampa Bay Lightning jackets hanging in Florida closets, as the season was cancelled due to a lock-out, and since then the Lightening has stepped up the fight to regain their prominence in the hockey world.