SPRING HILL, Fla. — There are plenty of jersey-wearing, autograph-collecting, flag-flying Bolts fans out there who will do anything for their favorite hockey team. However, there's one super fan in Spring Hill who has made it his goal to connect the team with the community.
Every week throughout the season Joe D’Angelo talks everything Lightning, which is actually the name of his podcast, Everything Lightning.
“The referees just conveniently turned their back and didn’t see that Colorado had an extra man on the ice,” said D’Angelo during his latest episode recapping Wednesday night’s game-winning goal.
When D’Angelo isn’t broadcasting about the team, he’s writing about them on his fan page Tampa Bay Thunder Strikers.
“There’s a lot of people who say to me, ‘we read what you write all the time, we read your injury report, transactions, whose traded, whose not,’” said D’Angelo.
Over the years D’Angelo used his super fandom to give back to the community, collecting memorabilia from the players for the Thunderstrikers Annual Christmas Toy Drive.
“They will donate hockey sticks signed, pucks signed, as soon as I get them they go out the door, they go right to where they need to go, the kids,” said D’Angelo.
D’Angelo also makes wishes come true, like when he organized a Zamboni ride during a game for a young fan dying of cancer.
“Knowing that he was going to die, side by side with his mom and him, he smiled,” said D’Angelo.
D’Angelo even drives a Lightning blue car. He said the team’s dedication makes him want to work just as hard when it comes to being the best fan he can be.
“Dive and take that puck, at 80-miles-an-hour, 100-miles-an-hour, our guys are getting hurt left and right, they are sacrificing their bodies for this cup,” said D’Angelo.
Whether the Lightning bring home another cup or fall short, D’Angelo said he couldn’t be more proud of his favorite team — they’ll always be champions to him.
“They feel the pressure, they know the fans want to get that Stanley back for the third straight time, but it's not going to be easy, we knew that, so if this goes seven hopefully the ticker can absorb,” said D’Angelo.