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J.T. Brown using passion for video games to connect with fans

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Brown gives fans a view of himself outside of the rink.

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NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past few years, Twitch.tv has become a platform for video gamers to share their exploits, their knowledge, and their personalities with a wider audience. Many are even able to make a job of it through subscriptions, sponsors, tips, and even personal appearances such as Amazon’s Champions of Fire invitational that invited 16 celebrity streamers to participate. Twitch has also been a platform for competitive eSports games like League of Legends gain a worldwide audience. The growth of eSports even prompted ESPN to cover it and DraftKings to add it to it’s daily fantasy sports line up.

It’s long been known to Tampa Bay Lightning fans that J.T. Brown is passionate about video games. He even has his own portable X-Box One that he brings with him on away trips so he can play on the plane, in the hotel, after practice, or just whenever he can get some time to jam a few games. His preference is first person shooter games like Call of Duty and Battlefield, but he’s also been known to play NHL 17 and it’s predecessors.

Lightning fans have gotten the opportunity to play with him the past couple seasons at the Lightning Family Carnival. It’s a special experience for fans to interact with a professional athlete away from the sport. It’s an opportunity to see the player as more than just an athlete, but as a person just like any other 20-something.

Now Brown is offering that opportunity to see him outside of hockey by streaming on Twitch. He has a couple months left before Baby Brown is born and he’s taking advantage of every opportunity to play before the baby is born. Brown is often joined by his brother Sieed Brown (check out his music on SoundCloud) and other friends. He recently got fellow Bolt Tyler Johnson to join him on a stream.

Brown has also stated he intends to get other teammates on when they are available like Victor Hedman, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Nikita Kucherov. When asked by viewers about coach Jon Cooper and general manager Steve Yzerman joining the stream Brown responded “If Coop is a 0 to join... Stevie is like a... -100 to come on.” He’s even allowed a few fans to join his group and play with him during streams as well.

Twitch streams have a chat function that allows viewers to interact with each other and the streamer. Brown has set-up his game room in a way so that he can see the chat on another monitor while playing. He does his best to answer questions and interact with fans in a way that you wouldn’t normally get with a professional athlete. He has stated that interacting with fans is one of the primary reasons that he decided to stream. Though he has conceded that the possibility of making money by streaming is appealing.

The start hasn’t been without some road bumps. Brown has had some technical issues at times. He’s also still learning about what it takes to run a stream and especially manage a chat room where people can often become nasty. There was even an issue with someone posting his home address to the chat. These are some of the problems that many streamers have had to face and overcome. But Brown is getting the hang of it and is putting out an entertaining streaming experience for fans.

Brown was kind enough to give us a few minutes of his time to answer a few questions we had for him.

RawCharge: Why did you decide to game with fans this off season via the twitch stream thing?

JT Brown: My brother and I were just chatting about it while we were playing Xbox. I wasn’t sure if it would take off or how serious we would make it, but I thought it would be a fun way to interact with others through gaming. Anyone who follows me on social media knows that I play Xbox quite a bit, Twitch is a way for me to let people see a different side that they wouldn’t see at the rink.

RC: Are you enjoying this way to interact with fans? Are people pretty chill?

JT: That’s an easy answer…Yes! It has been awesome. I'm still learning about Twitch and game streaming, but it has been a lot of fun. I thought it was going to be easier to talk and answer questions while playing at the same time. I think that will come with more practice. It’s a great excuse to get some extra video game time in before the baby. Plus followers have helped me out along the way with advice and helping me with bots and moderators to make sure that the chat room communications stay positive and chill.

RC: You already spoiled a picture of a couple of Lightning themed X-Box One Controllers that you want to give away. Can you give us a sneak peak of some other give aways that you plan to do for fans on the stream?

JT: Yes, I have some cool custom Lightning Xbox one controllers, and since they can’t be bought, I figured it would be something cool to give away during a stream in the future. I also think having people join the game and join the stream was a fun idea last stream to give people a chance to play. I am just doing this for fun, so there are no concrete plans.

For the custom controllers, Brown has stated on the stream that once he gets 500 viewers on a stream, he’ll give a controller away. Make sure you check out the stream. Follow it on Twitch.tv so that you can receive notifications of when he is on. And if you’re there when he gets to 500, you may just win a custom Lightning X-Box One controller.

One warning for viewers is that it can be an R-Rated stream. Check out a few clips from the stream below to get an idea of what you’ll experience with J.T. Brown on Twitch.