Lightning rookie Mattieu Joseph is the most newest member from the Lightning’s Guide the Thunder team. It’s a program made four years back intended to mentor and mold middle school kids in the Bay Area.
It’s an approach to support academic responsibility by compensating students with a full arrangement of apparatus and the chance to learn the game of hockey.
“It was really important for my family, for I and my brother,” said Joseph, who began figure skating at the age of 3. “My parents were really hard on me for school. They wanted me to do good in school. This program is helping them [these kids] do it both, practicing with sports.”
Previous Lightning player Jason Cullimore, who was with the team from 1997 to 2004, assumed control over the as the head mentor two years prior and has seen this program as of now surpass their desires with more than 1,000 children joined.
“I think it’s great because these kids usually don’t get exposed to hockey,” said Cullimore. “We went to their schools. We did our ball hockey, slash, street hockey event. Took over their PE class for the day and that’s how they got introduced. Now they’ve progressed to being on the ice. To see them from the first time they were on the ice to what they were today, it’s quite a difference.”
Eighth grader Jan Marcos Echeveerria is one player that didn’t realize how to skate two years prior and now he has dreams of playing in the NHL. Jan has two most favorite Lightning players that he wants to model his game after.
“I would have to say Alex Killorn or Nikita Kucherov with his slap shots and stuff,” said Jan.”I want to be a mix of them.”
Add Mathieu Joseph to his list.
“It’s good to see a smile on these guys faces,” said Joseph. “Sometimes it’s good to be part of this. I had a lot of fun today.”
It’s additionally a path from the Lightning to develop their fan base.
“Us being out there and doing programs like this adds to it,” included Cullimore. “They begin to appreciate the game. They sign up and they want to continue on. They become fans like all of us.”