On Thursday we brought you the story of Jack Milson, whose belly rolls propelled the Dallas Stars to a comeback victory in Game 4. But the boy behind the #Rallybelly is hardly the only youngster to captivate a fanbase during these NHL playoffs.
By now, it's possible you've seen the Buckle Up Baby, who stars in this incredible GIF:
That's some intense fandom right there. I submit to you that in his two years as a human being, the Buckle Up Baby has developed a deeper connection with the good old hockey game than most fans three decades older.
This kid's name is Tyler Avolia. He's been to four hockey games in his life. And clearly, he's already found his true passion. From WTAE:
"For Easter, we got him baseball stuff, but he's still just interested in hockey. Everything goes back to hockey," said Hilary Avolia, Ty's mom.
The family's living room is Ty's arena, a toy lawnmower is his Zamboni and the carpet is his ice rink.
"I want to be Sidney, mom," he said.
Interestingly enough, the GIF isn't even from the playoffs. Ty was actually filmed rocking out to some music during a regular-season game earlier in the spring. But after the clip was featured during the Penguins' second-last home telecast versus the Flyers, someone GIF'd it. By the time the playoffs had begun a few days later, little Ty had gone viral.
With the Penguins fanbase rallying around the hashtag #BuckleUpBaby, inspired by one of Phil Bourque's in-the-moment calls, two-year old Ty literally embodying the slogan proved to be the right GIF for the right time.
And now, after his contributions to the playoff run, the Penguins are giving back. Ty's his fifth hockey game looks to be Game 5 at the Consol Energy Center, as the Penguins have reached out to the Avolia family with tickets.
- Ice Hockey
- Sports & Recreation
- NHL playoffs