Tampa paper apologizes to readers

Updated: June 8, 2004, 4:22 PM ET
Associated Press

Lightning Gave Community
More Than A Championship
Editorial/headline taken from Tuesday's editions of the Tampa Tribune:

The Tampa Bay Lightning didn't win the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup last night. But the team had a championship season nevertheless. Its great run expanded the Lightning's fan base and bolstered its financial standing, and it generated excitement and pride throughout the community.

Two years ago few could have imagined the Lightning making the playoffs, much less winning the cup. Before last season, Sports Illustrated rated Tampa Bay as the worst of the NHL's 30 teams. Defying the experts, the team went on to win its division. Now the Lightning has proved itself among the best in hockey in one of the quickest turnarounds in league history.

The Lightning's season should quiet critics who claimed the NHL expanded too fast and argued that teams would never survive in the Sunbelt. The two previous Stanley Cup runners-up have been Carolina and Anaheim, further proof that hockey can succeed where the temperature seldom falls below freezing.

The thousands who gathered outside of the Forum to watch Stanley Cup broadcasts for both home and away games reflected the depth of local fans' support. Such devotion is usually reserved for "traditional" American hockey towns like Detroit or in Canada, where the sport is considered the national pastime. It also shows how sports can bring people together in a positive way.

The entire Lightning organization -- especially coach John Tortorella, general manager Jay Feaster and owner Bill Davidson -- deserve credit for this remarkable transformation.

The Lightning fell one game short in the 16-victory Stanley Cup marathon. But its exhilarating season has brought fellowship and joy to our community -- no small accomplishment. Thanks, Lightning. You've made us proud.

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Tribune apologized to its readers and the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday after mistakenly running an editorial saying the hockey team had lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Publisher Gil Thelen said it was unclear how the mistake was made Monday night as the newspaper rushed to press following the Lightning's 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames in Game 7.

The Tribune had prepared two editorials -- one for a win and one for a loss. But despite placing the correct editorial in its computerized page-making system, the one prepared for a loss appeared in the newspaper's 275,000 copies.

Thelen and Tribune Editor Frank Denton said the newspaper was investigating the error to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Editorial Page Editor Rosemary Goudreau issued a statement on the newspaper's affiliated Web site, TBO.com, telling readers "We took a puck in the gut this morning."

The incorrect editorial that appeared in the paper opened, "The Tampa Bay Lightning didn't win the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup last night. But the team had a championship season nevertheless."

The correct editorial, which didn't get in the paper, lauded the Lightning and credited the team for generating pride and excitement in the community.

A similar mistake happened to the New York Post last October when early editions of the paper carried an editorial bemoaning the Yankees' loss to the Boston Red Sox in the AL Championship Series. But the Yankees had staged a late rally to tie Game 7 and then won in extra innings.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press