Fans. They’re what drives a team to success. So you have to think when Tampa Bay Lightning star forward Steven Stamkos expressed excitement about seeing and interacting with some of them at Saturday’s Fan Fest many felt their happiness at a brand new NHL season immensely grow.
2008’s first overall draft pick, Stamkos immediately endeared himself to Lightning fans by posting three consecutive 40+ goal seasons before the age of 23. That earned him two Rocket Richard trophies, in 2009-10′ and 2011-12′, as the league’s leading goal scorer. If those previously mentioned accomplishments aren’t enough though his performance two seasons ago, becoming one of only two players this century to score 60+ goals in a single season, should be.
On-ice accomplishments aside, however, the Lightning knew Stamkos’ relationship with fans could not only boost attendance but also make him well-recognized in an area that isn’t really known for its hockey. And for what it’s worth he seems to be embracing that opportunity–Great to see considering he’s likely to be part of the Tampa Bay area for much or all of his career.
He’s also adding to fans excitement over training camp and the new season by outwardly showing such passion when it comes to meeting and getting to know fans. Not every player gives out such an emotional vibe, so you have to think he truly means every word. Amazing if I do say so myself.
Whatever happens this upcoming season, it’s wonderful to see Stamkos is committed to creating excitement among a fan base that desperately needs it after witnessing a down year. Because if he didn’t care the Lightning wouldn’t have much of a chance at staying competitive, or even surviving, in a sport associated more with snow than beaches and flip flops.