As great as it was to see another Stanley Cup championship banner raised last night at Amalie Arena before the Tampa Bay Lightning season opener, for many Bolts fans, it was seeing Sonya Bryson-Kirksey looking healthy and shiny that was the big highlight of the night.
You might remember Sonya became ill shortly after the Lightning’s boat parade in Tampa. Fortunately being vaccinated might have saved her life because she had a horrible time of it when she tested positive for COVID-19 just a few days later. For someone with MS like Sonya, it was an especially dangerous situation. She ended up spending weeks in the hospital – much of that time in intensive care. She had trouble breathing and sleeping and couldn’t get any support in person from her husband Jimmie. He insisted she’d be ready for opening night. And he was right.
Sonya looked healthy and sported her famous glitter as she belted out The Star Spangled Banner to a sold out crowd. You could see she was fighting back the tears as it came time to sing. Speaking while choked up is one thing. Singing is another. Yet she delivered. Channel 8 got this great video as Sonya returned to Amalie Arena for her first soundcheck of the season.
Photos from Opening Night for the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena