Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning Nuts & Bolts: Brazilian fan is Lightning's 'Distant Thunder'

Short shift w/assistant Steve Thomas (left)

First job: My dad was the maintenance supervisor in charge of all the machinery in the factory, called Canadian International Paper. They made beer boxes and milk cartons. My dad got me a job on an assembly line taking stacks of boxes and putting them in a pile. I was 15 years old, and I was making $16 an hour. Seven till 3 (a.m.) Had to work midnights but made a lot of money. After that I worked on a farm, and I bailed hay for $1.50.

Your first car: A 1972 Dodge Charger. It was my dad's car. He gave it to me, and he bought the same car.

What was the final mileage on it? I can't remember, but I smashed it up, though. It was a green car, and it had a red fender on it.

Most embarrassing hockey moment: I was in the playoffs … and we were playing Dallas, and (Derian) Hatcher hit me really hard, and I was kind of on goofy street, and I went to their bench and tried to get in their bench. Their guys were pushing me to my bench.

Favorite movie: I'd have to say Forrest Gump is right up there. Seen (it) many, many times.

Best concert: A small venue in Toronto called the Masonic Temple and I saw the Beastie Boys, and it was unbelievable. Fifteen years ago.

Most prized memorabilia: Only thing I have hung up are the six jerseys of the teams I played on. Have them framed in a library in my house.

A new fan experience

Rafael Amarante has been an unlikely Lightning fan from Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, since the 2004 Stanley Cup run. "I am the only hockey fan (in his hometown)," he says.

Amarante, 27, watches a lot of Tampa Bay games. His favorite players are Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov. Thanks to the Lightning, Amarante — a teacher now in Halifax, Nova Scotia, getting his doctorate in chemical engineering — got to see his first hockey game in person Thursday in Ottawa, escorted around by former captain Dave Andreychuk (the two are in the photo above). Coach Jon Cooper even invited Amarante to ask the first question in the postgame news conference. Saturday, Amarante was a special guest at the Lightning's home game against Carolina, his first time in the United States.

Amarante is the start of the Lightning's "Distant Thunder" program, which finds and connects fans from all over the globe. Those fans can go to lightningdistantthunder.com and share their stories and videos.

"We're not naive to believe we're the fan base of a New York or Montreal or Toronto or Chicago," said Eric Blankenship, the Lightning's vice president of marketing. "But we do embrace the fact we're hockey in Tampa. And we have fans all over the world."

Blankenship said the Lightning found out about Amarante during last year's playoffs through a marketing agency it works with. It decided to send people to Brazil to learn more about Amarante, and it shot a video that is displayed on its website. The video also was played on the Jumbotron at Saturday's game, and the Amalie Arena crowd gave Amarante a standing ovation.

Lightning Nuts & Bolts: Brazilian fan is Lightning's 'Distant Thunder' 03/05/16 [Last modified: Sunday, March 6, 2016 12:21am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays morning after: 5 mistakes that led to loss to Blue Jays

    Blogs

    We've already documented elsewhere what the Rays didn't do, how they failed to take advantage of a prime opportunity to win Wednesday's game, getting just one run after loading the bases in the seventh with one out and three of …

    Jake Faria make too many mistakes, the failure to execute costing him repeatedly.
  2. Rays have their chances, but end up with another loss (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The litany of games the Rays have given away this season is long enough, arguably too lengthy. So the only way to get to the postseason is make up for some of those losses by grabbing some wins when the opportunity is presented, especially at this time of year when the margin is diminished and the stakes …

    Associated Press
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    You wonder if the scouting reports and/or workload are catching up to rookie RHP Jake Faria. The bottom line wasn't bad again, three runs in 51/3 innings, but he's having to work harder to get there.

  4. Rays journal: Chris Archer eager for eventful final stretch

    The Heater

    TORONTO — RHP Chris Archer takes the mound today for the Rays as they head into the final 40 games of the season with little margin for error as they battle for an American League playoff spot.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) takes a moment on the mound in the second inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, August 6, 2017.
  5. Tim Tebow's slump continues, as does fan support

    Sports

    CLEARWATER — On July 29, playing against the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Tim Tebow smacked a mammoth three-run homer, helping the St. Lucie Mets cruise to a 10-3 victory at Charlotte Sports Park.

    St. Lucie’s Tim Tebow, shown Monday at Spectrum Field, struggled at the plate Wednesday against the Threshers.