Tampa Bay Lightning: A Bug For A Mascot

Our team’s mascot is a lightning bug — ThunderBug. Seriously? A bug?

Photo Credit: Dolly Reynolds

Don’t get me wrong. I like ThunderBug — the affable, ardent Tampa Bay Lightning advocate who likes to throw his weight (and plenty of it) around while pounding the glass at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. But, a bug? C’mon.

I remember attending a Lightning – Predators game in Nashville one year when Gnash, the Predators sabre-tooth cat mascot, skated onto the ice during the pre-game show with a replica of ThunderBug, and proceeded to beat the living daylights out of him, much to the delight of the hyped-up fans.

April 20, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; The Nashville Predators mascot performs before the start of a game against the Detroit Red Wings during game five of the 2012 Western Conference quarterfinals at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators beat the Red Wings 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Then, between periods, Gnash did some fast rappels, zip lines, and a pendulum swing that took him under the scoreboard and just inches off the ice. We’d need the paramedics on hand if ThunderBug tried anything remotely close to that.

Please, don’t leave me a nasty note and tell me to move to Nashville. ThunderBug is great for birthday parties, community events, high-fiving your four-year old, and amusing people with Silly String in a place where he won’t get fired for using it. But as far as generating any level of passion or excitement during the game — not so much.

Now I don’t think Jeff Vinik should zap ThunderBug. What I do believe, though, is that after two decades, maybe our mascot could be relegated to community and charity events while a new, more imaginative creation bolts us into the team’s third decade.

Please take the survey below and give me something to send along to the Lightning brass about how you feel about our — bug.

Does ThunderBug Need a Re-Make?

View Results

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Topics: Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Thunderbug

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  • Galactic Stone

    Thunderbug is weak and needs to go.

  • Rich Samburgh

    Thunderbug is awesome and part of the teams history,the idea is to make the kids,future stms have a special experience. If you as an adult need a mascot to hype you up for a hockey game,maybe you need to reconsider your participation in attendance!

    • Galactic Stone

      I don’t need or want a mascot. But if we are going to have one, I wish it wasn’t as lame as this one. Really, a bug? Other than the obvious tie-in between Lightning and Lightning bug, I don’t see his draw. Small children shouldn’t be at hockey games – the games are loud, the crowds are unpredictable (drunks) and the game is frequently violent. If the kids want to see a cuddly costume character, take them to Disney World. IMO, Zeus hurling thunderbolts would be more appropriate and interesting.

      • Rich Samburgh

        You are ignorant, and im glad you’re the minority.because the children are the way to a hometown fanbase and not having other teams transplanted fans ruling our teams arena

        • Galactic Stone

          I’m ignorant?; Take a look in the mirror pal. I am not the one using personal insults in a discussion about a sports mascot. Jeez, lighten up. All I am saying is, the little toddlers (who fuzzy character costumes appeal to) shouldn’t be at big public events like hockey games.

          The majority of fans in this city are fans of other teams because they are transplants who moved down here. They support our team by purchasing tickets and concessions just like everyone else. Many of them root for Tampa most of the year, and they only put on their Detroit or Chicago jerseys when their old team comes here to play. If seeing opposing fans in our arena is a bad thing to you, then it’s you who is the ignorant one.

          Without that expanded fanbase, the Lightning wouldn’t sell nearly as many tickets – that is a reality of the business and a unique aspect of our hockey market. It’s not a bad thing, it’s good for the team and it’s good for the city. You sound exactly like the type of person who I am referring to about kids. I don’t want my kid around an adult like you who gets upset easily over stupid things. If you get hostile and resort to personal insults in an online discussion, you are also likely to have a few beers and punch me out because I am wearing a St, Louis Blues jersey. I am a Lightning fan first and have been since the Expo Hall days. But I was born in St. Louis and grew up rooting for them. When they come to town, I wear my Blues jersey. But I am a Lightning fan through and through. I’m not the ignorant one here. BTW, use your spelling and grammar checker, you need it.

  • darthrandal

    The thing is, the new owners don’t want a “circus” thus Bug has been relegated to the sidelines, Vanna White-ing things and banging his drum. They almost got rid of the mascot all together but realized he was a part of the team, and appeals to women and children, not male hockey fans. He used to be a awesome in the ’04 era but has progressively been hnadcuffed during games. I’m sorry, but as a mascot designer, I hate the call for “badass looking mascots.” Mascots appeal to children first, women 2nd, and men last. Why design a character for your smallest audience? If “badass mascots” are so awesome, then why were the NHL guardians a complete failure?

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/stan-lees-nhl-guardian-project-failure-cost-tech-firm-millions?urn=nhl,wp18962

    The Rays went through the exact same thing in ’07 with their logo change, calling for a “God of the Sun” mascot. In the end they kept Raymond, because what kids wants a mythological creature as a mascot? “Oh mommy, I want to go get a picture with Zues! Wait, who the hell is Zues, I’m 4 and am not up on my Greek/Roman Mythology.”

    • Galactic Stone

      You do make some valid points. My point is that a 4 year old doesn’t belong at an NHL game. He should be out playing pee-wee hockey perhaps, but not sealed in a building with thousands of drunks and deafening noise. I wouldn’t bring a kid that young to any major public sporting event. And besides, even if it’s a mature for his age toddler who can handle the atmosphere, the parents usually drop the ball and don’t make them behave. Leave the kids with the babysitter. NHL hockey is an adult game.

      • darthrandal

        Um, I think you’re confusing an NHL game with an NFL game, which I would not take a kid to. NHL games are not all drunk idiots, unless you’re in Philadelphia. You obviously do not have children of your own, or nieces/nephews. My guess is early to mid 20′s. Point being, you’re not the type of person a team should tailor their family marketing efforts towards, because they do not apply to you. You’d be a good target for their “guys night out,” “college rush,” or any Friday/Saturday night game.

        • Galactic Stone

          I am 43 with two grown kids and a 4-yo grandchild. I just want the Lightning to start winning consistently. Honestly, I could care less about any mascot. Like you said, he wasn’t designed to appeal to me. But when I saw this article, I thought it would be interesting to consider a new mascot.

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