PITTSBURGH -- Hundreds of college and high school students who waited in line for up to seven hours for discount tickets to the Canadiens-Penguins game on a blustery, chilly day got a surprise: free hot drinks and pizza, courtesy of the Penguins.
Even better was who delivered the goodies: general manager Ray Shero, coach Dan Bylsma and five players.
On a late October day that had a wintry feel to it, Shero and Bylsma handed out cups of hot chocolate at mid-afternoon as the students waited patiently outside Consol Energy Center. A couple of hours later, players Jordan Staal, Pascal Dupuis, James Neal, Arron Asham and Deryk Engelland played pizza man and doled out slices of hot pizza.
A hockey game and dinner, all for $25. Not a bad deal.
While the Penguins have 9,000 fans on their season ticket waiting list, they set aside several hundred tickets for each game at sold-out Consol for the Student Rush program. The number of student tickets available was bumped up to 500 for the Canadiens, one of five such games this season in which the extra seats will be sold.
The Penguins make the pizza giveaway an annual event, but do not publicize in advance which game will be selected.