On January 11th the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey team rolled into Big Cat Rescue. Their head coach, John Tortorella, formerly coached the Tampa Bay Lightning for 8 years. He had visited the sanctuary when he lived in Tampa and thought a tour would be a unique experience for his guys. The Blue Jackets were in town for a lineup against the Lightning and had a packed schedule, but made time to spend a few hours with the cats. Kathryn, our Director of Donor Relations, and Jen, our Director of Outreach, were more than happy to show the guys around the sanctuary. Hailing from the state where 49 animals died in 2011, including 18 Bengal tigers, 17 lions, and three mountain lions – the players were familiar with the downside of treating wild animals as pets. Left winger and team captain, Nick Foligno, organized the trip and seemed truly impressed with the sanctuary and the stories of our cats. Seth the tiger took a particular interest in the team and even joined them for a group photo.
Although the cats will always be loyal to their home team (Go Bolts!), they were honored to host and share a few chuffs with the men that hold the second-longest winning streak in NHL history!
Sadly, I don’t have that team photo (made the mistake of taking it with their phone). But I do have the above “back” shot.
Director of Outreach