TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Talk about a dream come true!
Everyone remembers attending their first professional sporting event. Just last week, 4-year-old Harrison got the opportunity to go to his first Tampa Bay Lightning game, and to make the situation even better, it was a Round 2 playoff game.
Harrison and his family, who are from Oviedo, typically spend their Saturdays over at RDV Sportsplex Ice Den near Orlando. The young boy is currently taking ice skating lessons in hopes of eventually playing hockey.
However, this past weekend, he got the chance to kick off his skates, take a seat and see his favorite players in person, rather than through a television screen for Game 4 against the Carolina Hurricanes.
“He watched the first period of every Stanley Cup Finals game with us last year before bedtime and has grown up with hockey, so this first Lightning game has been a long time coming,” said Harrison’s mom, Brie.
Before the game started, one of Amalie Arena’s ushers, named Carol, helped put the icing on the cake for Harrison’s first game experience. Brie said Carol gave Harrison and his family tips on getting the players’ attention during warmups in hopes of possibly get an official puck.
Turns out, her guidance and a sign that read “My first Lightning game!” worked and the 4-year-old received a puck from Ondrej Palat.
“He refused to let it go and wanted to show it to everyone and even fell asleep holding it in the car on the drive home,” the boy’s mom said.
As you can imagine, Harrison’s excitement was through the roof and the game hadn’t even started yet. But the fun had just begun!
“He loved the game! Had a ton of fun being able to jump around and shake his noisemakers and doing the different crowd chants. He especially enjoyed the ‘Kuuuuuuuuch!’ and ‘Vasy! Vasy! Vasy!'” Brie said. “The people that we sat around were amazing as well, encouraging Harrison to make noise and have fun, and gave him high-fives after goals to celebrate.”
If he had to choose between his favorites, Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy, however, Harrison will always choose No. 86.
“If you even mention the Conn Smythe or the fact that Heddy (Victor Hedman) won it last year, he’ll still tell you he wanted Kuch to win it,” the boy’s mom said.
Despite Kucherov being the ultimate favorite, Palat has earned a special place in the 4-year-old’s heart.
“Pally has always been one of my favorites though, and he definitely is now a family favorite in our house after his sweet gesture,” Brie said.
Harrison’s family hopes to return to Amalie for a Round 3 game, as long as a home game doesn’t coincide with nap time.
In case you were wondering, Harrison is a prospective goalie. So heads up Julien BriseBois and Jon Cooper, you might want to keep an eye on the draft class 14 years from now.