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Family drives 20 hours to see Letang and the Pens

by Christa Eaton / Pittsburgh Penguins

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Driving 20 hours is a big commitment for anyone. An even bigger commitment is driving 20 hours just to see the Penguins play, but that was the case for Anthony MacLeod and his family, who made the trek from Quebec to Pittsburgh to see Kris Letang when the Penguins hosted the Blackhawks on Sunday.

The MacLeod family lives near Val-d'Or, which is where Letang played his junior hockey for the Foreurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before getting drafted by Pittsburgh.

"I would go watch, I remember Letang being in that area," said Anthony, who grew up a Penguins fan with Mario Lemieux as his hockey hero.

Over the holidays, Anthony's wife Melissa informed the family that they would be going to Pittsburgh for three days to see the city, and, most importantly, watch the Penguins play the Blackhawks.

Melissa bought the tickets in October after realizing how well it worked out, since she has one son who loves the Penguins - Justin, who was pictured holding the sign - and one son, William, who loves the Blackhawks.

"It was a perfect match," Anthony said. "Justin always loved the Penguins. He loves Crosby, but Letang is his favorite player."

After the long drive - where their sons constantly asked if they were there yet - the family arrived in Pittsburgh on Friday. The boys quickly got tickets to also see the game against Winnipeg that night.

The next day, they went to watch the Penguins practice at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry before spending the rest of the weekend exploring downtown Pittsburgh. They tried to get the whole Pittsburgh experience by exploring museums, eating at Primanti's and giving the Milkshake Factory a try.

Even though the Penguins eventually lost to the Blackhawks, 5-3, Anthony said the overall experience was like no other and he would do it again in a heartbeat.

"It was a cloud nine experience," he said. "At the practice, my son was already saying it's the best experience he's had. On the way home we talked about it, we did as much as we can trying to make the best out of it by exploring the city. I have to say, it was a really happy Dad moment at that time."

When asked if he would recommend this type of trip to families who also live far away, Anthony didn't have to think about it.

"Of course, it's an experience that a child will never forget," he said. "So if parents can put together a package like that, they'll see big smiles on their children. You can never put a price tag on that."

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