When I found out my friend Eric's mom Cheryl had passed, I had to mention it on the air, because she, as much as he, was one of the biggest Tampa Bay Lightning fans I knew. Considering my job, that's saying something! Come to find out, I didn't know the half of it.
Cheryl was such a big Bolts fan there was nearly as much blue at her service as there was black. Her two sons, daughter, her husband and high school sweetheart Rick, and many of her friends and family came together to celebrate her life, and her love of the Bolts by wearing Lightning gear. It was beautiful.
From Rick sharing the story of how Cheryl would sign the kids out of school to bring them to watch the Lightning practice, to her son Kyle telling me about how she ran into Vinny Lecavalier at Bass Pro Shops and immediately called him to tell him, "I met Vinny....AGAIN!" it became more and more clear that Cheryl's love for the Bolts may have only been trumped by her love for her family.
So, when you go to a Lightning game this October, remember Cheryl Hagland and the Hagland family, and be prepared to be the Thunder just a little harder, and just a little louder, because the Bolts, like the Hagland family, lost someone very special this month.