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"First NHL game, #2 is my grandson, 89 years young!"

by Michelle Crechiolo @PensInsideScoop / Penguins Team Reporter




That was written on the sign that Chad Ruhwedel's grandma Mary Bovee was holding up at the glass during warmups ahead of the Penguins' game against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday at SAP Center.

"Our daughter Evan is in Connecticut and she made that sign for Grandma to hold," said Chad's mom, Robin. "Because she just turned 89 last Sunday. So just being able to be here, she wanted her to have that sign."

"She was all pumped about it," Chad said with a smile. "I got a picture with her in warmups. That was pretty special for me."

Tweet from @penguins: "#2 is my grandson and favorite player!" 🥰

While Chad grew up in San Diego, Bovee and the rest of his extended family on Robin's side are from Sacramento. With Chad spending his entire professional hockey career to this point out East - playing in the Buffalo Sabres organization before joining the Penguins in 2016 - Bovee hadn't gotten a chance to see him play in the NHL until now.

"That was really special," Ruhwedel said following the Penguins' 5-0 loss. "It hasn't worked out in recent years just with scheduling and everything like that. For her to get out here and see me play is pretty special. 

"She hadn't seen me play since I was a kid. Then maybe some in college, but that's it. Not as a pro. So this was pretty cool."

While Bovee may not have gotten to attend any of his professional games until now, she usually streams them at home with a subscription to NHL.TV.

"I subscribe to all the games that I can't get on TV," Bovee said. "I get them on my iPad and cast them to my TV."

But that doesn't compare to finally getting the chance to see her grandson play in person.

"I am extremely proud of Chad," Bovee said. "He's such a tremendous young man."

From the time Chad - now 29 - was a kid, Bovee said she had a feeling he would end up here someday.

"From the time that he was a little bitty boy, he was going to play hockey," Bovee said. "And I said, 'Go for it, Chad!'"

Bovee watched her grandson living out his dream from the top of Section 105. Chad said he wished they could have gotten a better outcome for her, and she felt the same.

"I really like hockey," she said before adding with a wry grin, "This isn't the best game I've seen."

To make matters worse, Chad took a high stick to the face from Evander Kane that sent him to the locker room for stitches.

"That was pretty scary," Bovee said. "I don't want to see things like that."

Fortunately, Chad was okay and able to return to the game - where he had 21 other family members besides his mom and grandma all wearing their No. 2 Penguins gear watching him play.

"All my extended family is from up here," Chad said. "It was a decent-sized cheering section today. That's pretty crazy."

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