For the latest edition of Fan Sided, BoltsByTheBay spoke with Delores Roylene Kau’ionalani Hall Thompson Reynolds and we assure you – her love for the Bolts stretches longer than her name. Reynolds just celebrated her 33rd birthday at her home in Tampa Bay, which she refers to as ‘hockey paradise’. Always passionate when talking blue and white, Reynolds jumped at the opportunity to be interviewed.
Personally, what is your favourite Tampa Bay moment to date?
Being able to take part in and be there when they held up The Stanley Cup, Brad Richards with the Conn Smythe, the inaugural season, and these past playoffs. I’d have to say getting to know the guys at prospect camp and my all time favorite respected player, Brian Bradley. That’s a tie with the recognition for the meet-up group I keep together during the off season and the Lightning Ladies group that we’ve had to rename to Lady Bolts so not to insult the players’ wives. It’s a group I started for women to talk hockey comfortably without the guys.
What other player in the NHL would you like to see playing for the Bolts and why? What would they add to the team?
Honestly, I think Jonathan Toews. A lot of Lightning fans would argue, but he’s got amazing skill on the ice and to be so young he shows great leadership on and off of the ice. I think he’d bring a real sense of confidence and pick the team up when they are down in the locker room. Plus, being so young, he could definitely grow with the team and be a major part of Tampa’s future.
What was your first experience with the Lightning a.k.a. When did you truly realize that you were a fan?
1992. Let me put it this way – when you’re raised in Tampa pre-90’s, there was no hockey. It was all about football. So my first experience was watching the news and asking “Who is Phil Esposito, and why is he bringing an ICE hockey team HERE?” Then I got curious as the time got closer. I was at that first game in the expo-hall at the fair grounds and at that moment when they hit the ice, I was hooked. Followed the team to The Thunderdome as it was called then (Now Tropicana Field) and then to The Ice Palace (Now The St. Pete Times Forum.) Seeing Brian Bradly put that first goal in at The Ice Palace is a memory I will never forget. A true Bolt Blue fan is a fan through thick or thin, loss or win.
Who do you admire most on the team (players and staff included)?
There are so many to list as this is a class act organization from the upper offices all the way down to the concessions workers and ticket booth attendants. Though Coach Guy Boucher and Steve Yzerman are true class acts and just generally nice, will-do-anything-for-the-fans-no-matter-how-tired-they-are, I would have to say I admire Brian Bradley the most. He’s my all time favorite player. He stuck with the organization even after having to retire early due to his injury. Through the whole fight back in the 90’s he conducted himself with dignity. To this day he is the Director of Youth Hockey and does so much in the community and for the kids. They had the Lightning kids summer camp going on at the same time during prospect camp as their practice arena as two rinks. Seeing this hockey great, Tampa’s true first super star, interact with the kids – pinging tennis balls at them and goofing around and making funny faces when they retaliated – was just amazing. He’d stop and talk to anyone who wanted to (If he was on a break from the children, of course) and take pictures, sign autographs. We talked for a long while. He even made fun of me a little bit which made me laugh. He is so good with the kids and they love him! So from hockey great being retired and still active with the organization and community, overcoming all that he’s been through, Brian Bradley is with out a down the person that I respect and admire the most.
What defines a “great” team?
Four words: The Tampa Bay Lightning. We had a fan-based draft party. Our pick was down to #27. The Lightning heard about it, sent over t-shirts, rally drums, towels, and a whole bunch of stuff. They sent a representative in media relations to hang out with us and tweet from the party, and even sent Thunderbug! Yes the mascot came to our fan-based draft party! The pictures are up on my Facebook account (Hula Doll). The representative had us fill out a piece of paper with ideas that we, the fans, had. She said they wanted to hear what the fans wanted, from the fans themselves. The franchise’s interaction with the fans is amazing. Again I say from the bottom all the way up through the amazing players to the coaching staff to Steve Yzerman and Jeff Vinik. These guys are more than jocks in jerseys who go and bang people around and hit a puck on the ice. They are the heartbeat of Tampa Bay. Even if they have personal differences with each other, you’d never see it on the ice. In the locker room when one is down, the team lifts them up. I hear the stories time and time again. In the community they are always helping people, visiting children in the hospital, and building foundations off-camera so it’s not just for show or media attention. The bond that holds them together, that makes a “great” team. It’s not the score board. It’s the attitude of the players who lift up the fans in hard times, and the players who allow themselves to be uplifted as well. Great team = community.