TAMPA — Dan Quatrino hadn’t been to a Lightning game in 17 years, when he watched Tampa Bay make its first run to the Stanley Cup during the 2004 playoffs.
Quatrino, a longtime fan and captain for Tampa Fire Rescue, received a surprise while doing a training session Monday at Station 1 in downtown Tampa.
WWE global ambassador and area philanthropist Titus O’Neil tapped Quatrino on the shoulder and asked him if he was going to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final. Quatrino said no too quickly, and O’Neil presented him with tickets for him in his family to attend the opener as guests of the NHL and the Lightning. Quatrino was nominated by Tampa Fire Rescue chief Barbara Tripp.
“I was kind of confused how (O’Neil) knew who I was, and initially it was just a lot of shock and surprise,” Quatrino said. “But I kind of realized what was going on, I saw my family. … It’s something that I, personally, never thought I would get, and not in a bad way, but I just come to work, do your job and that’s pretty much it.”
The Quatrinos — Dan, his wife Kenyon; daughters Avery, 13, and Anna, 11; and son J.D., 8 — watched the Lightning’s 5-1 win over the Canadiens from a few rows behind the boards next to the penalty box. They saw Thunder Alley get set up for the watch party, as well as some of the pregame festivities. During the game, Quatrino was recognized on the Amalie Arena video board during a break in the action, receiving an ovation from the crowd.
“Some people have sent me some texts and videos of it,” Quartino said. “I look at myself as just an ordinary person and everything else, and to receive recognition like that other stage like that was humbling but also proud to be a part of Tampa Fire, to represent Tampa Fire, the city of Tampa. But it was also real cool to have my kids there to be able to see their dad in that capacity.”
Quatrino, who grew up in Tampa, has been with Tampa Fire Rescue since 2005, serving as a firefighter, paramedic and driver engineer before he was promoted to captain nearly six years ago.
“I was so happy just to be hired by Tampa, but because I went through fire school and EMT school, my goal was always to work in Tampa,” Quatrino said. “As time goes on, you start moving up the ranks, and some of these goals or dreams become a reality. Sometimes you look back and shake your head and you can’t believe that things have worked out the way that they have.”
One of the best parts of Monday’s experience was watching his children fall in love with hockey while attending their first live game, just like when he and Kenyon watched their first game 17 years ago.
“It’s just beautiful to see,” Quatrino said. “When you have an interest in something, and then your kids take an interest in it, anything that you can share and bond with them over is great. I sat next to them and watched them just be totally fixated on the ice and watching all the action.
“And then, one of the first questions my middle daughter asked when we got out was, ‘When are we going back?’ For me to go, ‘Hey, I want to go to a hockey game’ because I want to go to do it, and everybody wants to go with you, it’s just a great feeling.”
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