Garth Brooks’ three upcoming shows in Tampa, Florida, have been canceled to make room for the Stanley Cup Finals.
Originally announced in March, the shows would have been Brooks’ first gigs in the Tampa area since October 1998, when he sold out four consecutive shows at the Ice Palace. Decades later, the venue — now known as Amalie Arena — is gearing up to host Game Two of the end-of-year hockey championship between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, June 6th. Brooks, who was scheduled to play two shows that day, along with a kickoff show the night before, has been bumped from the arena’s schedule.
The country singer, who launched his comeback tour last year, is taking the news in stride. In a statement released on his website, he congratulated both teams on making the finals, thanked the NHL for being “stand-up people” and explained why it wouldn’t be possible to move his own double-header to Sunday. “The issue of getting the [television] network crews and their gear out of the building and getting our crews and gear into the building late Saturday/early Sunday for two shows on Sunday raises serious safety concerns,” he wrote. “It is because of those safety concerns that the choice is being made to refund all shows and reschedule depending on finding a date that works for both the arena and the tour.”
Brooks recently wrapped up a four-night residency in Knoxville, Tennessee, with his wife and tour mate, Trisha Yearwood. The couple will take next weekend off, then resume their record-breaking tour in Birmingham, Alabama, on June 12th.