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Fired Lightning mascot: ''nobody to blame but myself''

TAMPA, Florida -- Odds are you don't know the name Kelly Frank.

But you know her work as Thunderbug, the Tampa Bay Lightning mascot, for parts of three seasons.

That is until she was fired in January following an incident where she sprayed a Boston Bruins fan with silly string and was pushed down by the fan.

Photo Gallery: ThunderBug's altercation with fan

"There was definitely build up.  There was a back and forth.  He had been yelling at me," Frank described.

The altercation got national attention as the video went viral.

"I accept fault in the situation.  I really have nobody to blame but myself," she said.

Frank says no one from the team ever told her not to use silly string, but fully understands the decision to replace her. She tells 10 News she probably would have done the same if she were in their position.

"I've actually been looking to move on," the 31-year-old explained, "so the decision was kind of made for me."

Lightning fans continue to get fired up over the situation. They've created an online petition and Facebook page to save her job, which has generated more than 1,400 "likes."

"I'm glad that the fans have the support and enjoyed what I did," Frank said.

She says being let go has allowed her to focus on building her business, Amazing Mascots, www.amazing-mascots.com/, where she designs costumes.

Frank is also booking appearances as the Ultimate Easter Bunny, www.theultimateeasterbunny.com/, though after that her mascot days are over.

"It's a great job and it's so much fun.  It's so hard to walk away from," she explained.

The Lightning didn't have a comment for this story, but previously told 10 News the silly string incident played a part in the decision to fire her, but it wasn't the only factor.

Frank confirmed that account on Friday.

She was also fired as the Tampa Bay Rays mascot in 2008 after five seasons.


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