It was a shock to everyone when Alan Thicke died at age 69 right after enjoying a hockey game with his son, Carter, age 19.
Alan is remembered for playing the dad on the sitcom “Growing Pains“. He also hosted “Thicke of the Night,” a late-night talk show and was a very talented song writer writing the themes for “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life.”
In Tampa, Florida, Alan is also remembered by fans of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team because he was the on-ice pre-game host and the master of ceremonies for the inaugural game of the Lightning at Expo Hall against the Blackhawks on October 7, 1992. He also helped to promote the 1999 All-Star Game in Tampa.
With his life-long love of hockey and being an enthusiastic hockey fan, in addition to being a close friend of hockey great Wayne Gretzky, Alan had become friends with Lightning founder Phil Esposito when Esposito was a Rangers player. Thicke wrote the cult-classic song “Hockey Sock Rock” that Esposito sang and which was turned into a charity video. From that friendship came Alan‘s invitation to that first Lightning game.
It was hoped that the Tampa Bay Lightning found what was needed to pull themselves out of their recent rut with their recent 6-3 victory over the Calgary Flames, when the Flames were considered to be the best Western team as December progressed and up in the standings to be in a playoff spot. However, the Lightning fell 4-2 to the Vancouver Canucks in the season finale on December 17.
Back in September 2015, the Tampa Bay Lightning along with the National Hockey League Players’ Association and the National Hockey League announced that they were investing over $6 million over the coming five years in an extensive program, Build the Thunder. The mission is to grow the game of hockey and its fans and teach life skills lessons by players and alumni as role models and teachers to approximately 100,000 local young people who will learn critical educational and life skills.