TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Oh captain, my captain! He’s BAAAAACK!
For loyal Lightning fans, wishes came true on Wednesday night. As folks packed Thunder Alley for a pandemic-style watch party, adhering to strict social-distancing and mask-wearing rules, the moment they were waiting for finally happened.
It was seven long months in the making, and when fans caught sight of Steven Stamkos taking the ice in Edmonton, epic cheers erupted, echoing through downtown Tampa. For many, the deafening roar of Bolts loyalists was, indeed. The sweetest sound in the world. The team captain was back in action, and it was game on in Game 3.
He had long hair, a bushy playoff beard, and eloquent grace on the ice, all of which had fans in a frenzy.
But Stammer had no way of knowing that he had some competition back in Tampa by a beloved someone who doesn’t skate, can’t hold a hockey stick or even lace-up shoes. That’s because he doesn’t wear skates or even play hockey. Bolt, the team pup, was winning the hearts of fans all over Thunder Alley.
People waited in line, snapped photo after photo, as they were captured by his downright cuteness. Tail wagging and all. It was clear, this little nugget is a superstar. And, he’s not even two years old yet.
Bolt is a yellow Labrador who draws crowds wherever he goes.
He is currently being raised by the Tampa Bay Lightning to go into training with Southeastern Guide Dogs located in Palmetto.
Missy Davis, Bolt’s designated raiser, tells 8 On Your Side, “You see the way he affects people. It’s immediate. We know he’ll have a positive impact. He loves people.”
She adds, “And, the players love him.”
Defenseman Victor Hedman has taken a particular liking to Bolt.
On a recent trip with the players and their fathers back in November 2019, Bolt loved the attention he got from Hedman’s dad.
Missy said, “Victor Hedman’s dad kept feeding him popcorn. He loved it.”
Bolt joined the team back in Summer 2019 as a puppy, and he’s been at home ever since. The fifteen-month old lab can be seen everywhere from the locker room to the actual ice where he loves to slide and chase the spotlights.
In three weeks, he’ll go to what Southeastern Guide Dogs calls the “college campus” in Palmetto, and while it’ll be a bittersweet goodbye, both fans and the team are grateful for the experience.
“We’ll be sad to see him go, but it’s worth it to see Bolt make a difference in someone’s life,” Missy said. “We will miss him.”
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