It is a story that is three years in the making: one local church pastor is behind the clever signs supporting the Tampa Bay Lightning in the postseason that have been posted outside Our Savior Lutheran Church in St. Petersburg.
“The very first sign was ‘Jesus Saves, Stamkos Scores. Go Bolts!,’” said Assistant Pastor Tyler Moore.
Moore says this all started back in 2015 when the Bolts made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, but came up short against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Now, it’s a tradition.
“Being a Lightning fan and I was kind of bored with seeing our sign say ‘Sunday Worship Times,’ so I said ‘Let’s add a little pizazz,'” said Moore.
The love for the home team can also be seen in the church, as Assistant Pastor Moore often gives his Bible study lessons with a twist.
“It’s kind of become a running gag where in my sermons, I’ll work in the Lightning some way. Whether it’s just a reference to the score or something like that,” said Moore.
So do the signs have anything to do with superstition, which is synonymous with hockey? Sort of.
“I wouldn’t say I’m superstitious, just a little ‘stitious,’” Moore joked. “With religion, I can’t do too much superstition. But I do have to do it at certain times. I put [a new sign] up every game day morning and then I post it on Twitter. I try to do it in the 10:00 hour.”
The Lightning have noticed his efforts too. He’s been given tickets to a few games, but is currently looking for some tickets to the Eastern Conference Final as well… hint, hint.
More than 70 playoff signs later, his latest is now up ahead of the Eastern Conference Final series between the Bolts and the Washington Capitals that starts Friday at Amalie Arena.
As for where he gets the ideas for the signs? He says he gets help from his wife and friends… but there is also a method. He uses the “Notes” program on his phone to see exactly how many characters his sign will be to make sure it will actually fit. If not, he goes back to the drawing board with the same idea, just a little shorter.