StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-114305614612475.jpg’, ”, ”);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11430562258438.jpg’, ‘Photo by Doug Halberstadt’, ‘Opening tip-off of the Rockford Lightning vs. Idaho Stampede game, March 16, which could possibly be the final game for the Lightning played in Rockford.’);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-114305628013557.jpg’, ‘Photo by Doug Halberstadt’, ‘The Rockford Lightning won against the Idaho Stampede – Lightning 108 to Stampede 105.’);
Last Thursday night, March 16, I went to what may have been the final home game (or at the very least, the last regular-season home game) ever for the Rockford Lightning.
There were only 1,141 of us there to say good bye and thank you to the longest running franchise in the CBA. After 20 seasons in Rockford, Im sorry to say it doesnt look as if there will be a 21st. As of yet, no one has stepped forward publicly to save the team.
The Lightning won the game on some last-minute heroics by Cordell Henry. He hit a 3-pointer with about 25 seconds remaining to seal the victory. The final score, of what appears to be the final Rockford game for the team, was Lightning 108, Idaho Stampede 105. The team is assured of one more game in the playoffs. It was on the road Monday, March 20 (result not available by time of publication). Depending on the outcome of that contest, the Rockford Lightning, as we know them, may be history.
The organization seemed resolved to their destiny. Team General Manager Michael Neville assisted the cheerleaders and dance team as they emptied their supply of giveaway items. Mini-basketballs, T-shirts, hats and posters were being handed out to just about everyone at the game.
Bob Ace, the public address announcer, asked the fans to recognize the Tempe family for keeping the team here as long as they have. All 1,141 of us gave the family a standing ovation.
After everyone was seated again, Ace asked the people who were season ticket holders to stand and be recognized. This time, it looked like fewer than 50 people were standing. Thus the reason there wont be another season.
Doug Halberstadt is a local resident and is track announcer at Rockford Speedway. He can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Marcj 22-28, 2006, issue