TAMPA — It was a joke at first. Alex Killorn posted a video to his Instagram story suggesting he might become an “influencer” with all his spare time during the NHL’s stoppage in play.
The Lightning wing then shared comments from his friends and family, a mixture of chirps and disbelief.
But five weeks later, Killorn’s “Dock Talk with Killer” Instagram Live show is the most-talked about topic in Tampa Bay hockey.
Killorn isn’t sure he deserves the top spot, though.
“I joke that I’m an influencer, but I think (defenseman Mikhail Sergachev) is the most consistent,” Killorn said on a media Zoom call Thursday. “To be an influencer, like anything, consistency is key. He’s posting every day and keeping fans in the loop. I think he’s probably the best influencer on the team.”
Sergachev might have the most consistent Instagram presence, but Killorn has influenced at least three teammates to buy their own Sea-Doos. That’s the definition of the term, right there.
Sergachev has posted photos of himself on a Sea-Doo, first with goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy on the back. He added a poll to his story this week, asking fans to vote on his reclined pose, steering with his feet, or Vasilevskiy squatting on the seat.
Both Killorn and Sergachev posted teasers Thursday to something new, featuring at least four Lightning players on Sea-Doos (including Steven Stamkos, Vasilevskiy and Anthony Cirelli).
“Sea-Doo has reached out to me,” Killorn said. “They’ve gotten a lot of free advertising since we started the show.”
When Killorn started the show, he thought it’d be a one-off. The team had asked him to do a video reaching out to fans. Killorn wasn’t enthused about doing another version of “the video you’ve seen 20 times.” So he threw out the idea of a jet ski Q&A in another Instagram story.
If Killorn had realized he’d be doing multiple episodes, he wouldn’t have started with Stamkos, Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh all in one video. But he certainly hasn’t lacked for content.
Killorn visited Bucs tight end Cameron Brate and Rays centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier on his last episode. Brate told Killorn he’d been working out with new quarterback Tom Brady. Killorn also shared a “scoop” from his real estate agent that Tiger King might be shooting a second season.
Amidst the laughs and news flashes, some good has been done as well. At the end of the second episode, Killorn announced he’d be selling “Dock Talk with Killer” T-shirts to raise money for the Hillsborough Education Foundation. (Or he tried to, anyway. The video cut off, and the announcement had to be made separately.)
The shirts sell for $30 at tampabaysports.com and have raised nearly $45,000, far exceeding Killorn’s expectations.
The Lightning had donated to Feeding Tampa Bay and owner Jeff Vinik to Metropolitan Ministries, so Killorn decided to go a different route. The Hillsborough Education Foundation helps facilitate distance-learning for students who don’t have access to computers, tablets and reliable internet.
“Education has always been really important to me,” the Harvard grad said. “It’s really important to give back, especially to kids who don’t have the means to keep up with school. School for me was so important.”