They say the hardest thing in life is saying goodbye.
Whether it's your first baseball glove, first car or maybe even that first true love, nobody enjoys ever having to say that word.
Hockey players are no different. They are a superstitious bunch who would rather sprint face first into a brick wall with zero padding before they would part ways with their lucky shin guards or taped-up shoulder pads.
Yet saying goodbye is exactly what the Pittsburgh Penguins
, past and present, did Thursday night before the reigning Stanley Cup champions took on the New York Islanders
in the final regular-season home game in the history of 48-year-old Mellon Arena.
The Igloo, as the building has been known for decades due to its unique architecture, might not possess the modern amenities fans will find at Consol Energy Center when it opens in September. But for many of the Penguins' core players who have led the hockey renaissance in the city of Pittsburgh throughout the past five years, it is home, a place where they grew from the bottom of the National Hockey League's scrap heap to the top of the mountain as Stanley Cup champions.
"I can definitely say I am going to miss this building because we have all been living together here for five years," Maxime Talbot
said. "Most of these guys in the dressing room have been here a while. It is the oldest building in the league but we have everything we need. It might be old wood and it might smell old, and it might not be that pretty, but it's a great building to play in."
"When I got here I found out pretty quickly that this arena has an amazing feel," Sidney Crosby
said. "It's an atmosphere you have to be at to really describe. The crowd feels like it is really on top of you they are so involved in the game. It's a really fun building to play in."
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