Look, I am not saying the Tampa Bay Lightning need a little boost from a higher power in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs.
Tampa Bay’s coach seems like an affable guy, and their star player is ace, and some guy in an astronaut suit keeps coming their games, so come on, obviously I would never say anything bad about the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Hockey fans are the best, guys.
“I just want to have fun,” Moore said in a phone interview Friday. “We’re a community organization, and we should support the team and the community, and it helps that the person who gets to go out there and do the sign, me, is a massive fan of the Lightning.”
Moore thought about posting Lightning-themed signs during the NHL playoffs last year, but the postseason started a little close to Easter, so, you know, he figured he should probably let people know about church services instead. This year, though, he went for it.
(For the non-hockey fans in the congregation today, Steven Stamkos plays for the Lightning. He’s … uh, been taking some heat lately, but this sign went up before that happened. Moore called his first sign “ironic, given the first round,” but also pointed out that it seemed safe at the time, plus it is a little hard to fit something like “JESUS SAVES TYLER JOHNSON SCORES” on a church sign.)
And he has kept going through the postseason:
Even when it got tough:
And when the weather was lousy:
And people have noticed! Some honk and shout when they drive by, Moore said. A couple folks from Detroit who attend the church snapped pictures with it, even though the Red Wings were facing the Lightning in the first round. Even Moore’s senior pastor — who is from Cleveland, which doesn’t have an NHL team — has gotten into the spirit of the thing.
“He’s been laughing right along with me,” Moore said.
Since the signs started to receive national attention, Moore said that he’s been contacted by other pastors-slash-hockey fans. A lot of them seem to support the Blackhawks, Moore said. One asked him if he had any suggestions on how to pray for his hockey team, too.
For the record, Moore does pray for members of the Lightning, in a please let Jonathan Drouin not get frustrated by this healthy scratch kind of way. And he noticed these comments by Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, which came after Tampa Bay eliminated Detroit in Game 7 on Wednesday night:
“It just seems like an odd coincidence,” Moore said.
In case these signs have converted you to a Tampa Bay fan, too, I should note that the Lightning play Montreal on Friday night. If they advance again, they’ll either face the New York Rangers or Washington, a scenario for which Moore has prepared.
“I know you’re up there in Washington,” he said, adding that he’d already thought up a couple signs about the Capitals. “We’ll see how things work out.”
[H/T: Puck Daddy]