Lightning staffers get ready for Olympics - FOX 13 News

Lightning staffers get ready for Olympics

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

There's a solid chance that someone on the Lightning will return with a Olympic medal around their neck. The Lightning have seven players heading to Russia to represent their home countries.

You'll have to look to the Lightning's bench to find who will be wearing red, white and blue.

Trainer Tom Mulligan and equipment manager Ray Thill will be part of the support staff for Team USA. How were they selected?

"That's a really good question," said Lightning head medical Trainer Tom Mulligan. "I think just my experience with the USA hockey program in the past. I guess just developing a good reputation throughout the league."

Mulligan and Thill have worked together with the Lightning for 11 years and both have been part of Team USA before during international competition, but the Olympics will be a new experience for both.

"I was really excited," said Lightning equipment manager Thill. "Steve Yzerman [Executive Director for Team Canada] called me in July and let me know that I was going over there and I was extremely excited."

Right now, Thill has his hands full. He's having to deal with gear with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Olympic gear already arriving from seven different countries. What's he doing with it?

"Just hang on to it until our last game is [Feb.] 8th. Everybody leaves on the 9th. I'll just make sure that they have their team stuff with them when they take off," he said.

With their families staying home because of safety concerns, they're still looking forward to it and the chance to return home with the gold, even if it's not around their necks.

"I don't think we as staff get the medals," said Mulligan. "We get recognized, I think with rings."

"One of my first hockey experiences was growing up watching the 'Miracle on Ice' and to potentially be a part of something like that would be a dream come true."

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