TAMPA, Fla. — It’s almost as permanent as having names engraved on the Stanley Cup. Tampa Bay Lightning super fan, Alexei Chelukanov has memorialized the Bolts’ 2019-20 Stanley Cup Championship with not one tattoo, but with the ink of every players’ face on his arm.
“It’s actually not finished yet,” Chelukanov, who lives just outside of Moscow, Russia, said. “There will be the last session for corrections and the script above the tattoo that reads ‘2020 Stanley Cup Champions.’”
So far, the tattoo has taken 13 eight-hour sessions.
“I can tolerate this pain. There are certain places on arm, like inside the elbow, where Yanni Gourde’s face, it was pretty painful,” he said.
Chelukanov became a fan of the Lightning in 1996, but his love for the team went to new levels in 1998 when Tampa Bay drafted Vincent Lecavalier. He’s also the founder of the Russian Lightning Fan Club.
The idea for this massive sleeve tattoo came two years ago. He met Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and made him a promise.
“I will do the whole team if they win,” he said. “It was some kind of joke.”
After 104 hours of work on this tattoo, Chelukanov has not made any more promises for another tattoo.
“No, no, I didn’t,” he said. “If they win and I decided to make a tattoo, it will be something other than faces. I didn’t make any promises. But, we will see.”
Unfortunately for Chelukanov, he hasn’t been able to show off his new ink around town just yet.
“Right now I can’t because it is -20 degrees celsius so I don’t show them this tattoo,” Chelukanov said. “I have to wear warm clothes.”