SportsQuest for the Cup


'Littlest Lightning fan' is now 20 years old and still a diehard Bolts fan

Tampa Bay Lightning's Littlest Fan
Posted at 6:44 PM, Jun 18, 2022

TAMPA, Fla. — Owen Barno can truly claim to be a Tampa Bay Lightning fan since birth—and he has the news stories to prove it!

ABC Action News first met Barno when he was just 2 years old in 2004. Back then, Owen was sitting on his dad Chris Barno’s lap naming all the Lightning players when they won their first Stanley cup. He was dubbed the Bolt’s littlest fan.

Then, ABC Action News caught up with Barno in 2015 when he was playing travel hockey. The Lightning was in the Stanley Cup final, but lost to Chicago.

Times have changed. Barno is now 20 years old and playing hockey for the University of Florida’s club team. Yet, one thing hasn’t changed...his love for the Bolts.

“I was a little kid then (during the first news story in 2004) and still eating baby food, but now I’m growing a full playoff beard and coming home from college and still love the Lightning just as much as I did back then which is really awesome,” he added.

Barno has a huge collection of Lightning memorabilia as well as his own photos playing hockey over the years.

“I played a lot of other sports. Football, baseball, soccer but hockey was the only sport I stuck with,” he elaborated.

Back in 2000, Barno’s dad moved to Tampa to work in the Lightning’s ticket sales office. Owen can literally say he was born a Bolts fan.

“I’ve always felt like there’s been a connection with me and the Lightning. My family moved to Tampa because of the Lightning. I’ve grown up watching the Lightning. I play hockey because of the Lightning so I really owe a lot of my life to that team,” he added.

As for this playoff run, Barno has his superstitions, like many Lightning fans, and hopes his little bit of luck can rub off on the team.

“It’s funny because I actually have a Lightning jersey and it’s a black one, which is their alternate, and I’ve worn that. I got it for Christmas in 2019 and they won the cup in 2020, 2021 and hopefully now. So I’ve been wearing that jersey every game for all the playoffs, and I wear that as my good luck charm. Anytime that someone says ‘oh, there are a lot of bandwagon fans in the area’ I can always say I’m definitely not one of them. I’ve been a diehard since day one,” Barno elaborated.