SportsQuest for the Cup


Tampa family's kids share names with Lightning stars Nikita, Brayden

Laine and Eric Franklin are big-time Bolts fans
Posted at 7:35 PM, Jun 03, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — Fans all over Tampa Bay have caught Bolts fever, including a family whose children share the same names as a pair of Tampa Bay Lightning superstars.

“We were definitely buying Kucherov shirts, he’s our favorite player,” Lightning fan Laine Franklin said.

Laine and Eric franklin are big-time Bolts fans.

“My husband and I used to go to the games all the time,” Laine told ABC Action News sports anchor Kyle Burger. “He’s a really big fan. He plays hockey for fun, and we’d always go to the games.”

Those late-night Lightning games are a little less frequent now that they are parents to five-year-old Nikita and two-year-old Brayden.

“The first night I found out I was pregnant we were heading to the game,” Laine said. “The whole story, as a joke, we were going to name our child after the first person who scored. I predicted it was going to be Nikita Kucherov and sure enough it was.”

Yes, Nikita is named after the Russian forward. Maybe it’s a good thing Vladislav Namestnikov didn’t net the first goal.

Three years later, baby Brayden was born.

“Brayden is two and just so happens to have the same name as another one of the players,” Laine said. “We picked out the name Brayden and of course Brayden Point is on the team.”

Good things have happened since Nikita and Brayden came into this world. Nikita, the Russian, won an MVP, and that Brayden scored the cup-clinching goal in game six of the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals.

“We just love that we have two player names. It’s fun.”

It’s too bad Thursday’s Game 3 puck drop is past the kids' bedtime at 8 p.m.