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Fans enjoy open skate at PPG Paints Arena

by Nicole Jelinek / Pittsburgh Penguins

As Heinz Field is undergoing a speedy transformation from a football field to an ice hockey rink, the Pittsburgh Penguins are hosting a week full of events that are leading up to the NHL Stadium Series game this Saturday against intrastate rival Philadelphia, starting with Presidents' Day Public Skating sessions.

Monday's sessions allowed fans to get out of the bleachers and set foot (skate) onto the ice of PPG Paints Arena, where instead of watching their favorite players skate and shoot goals, they got the opportunity to skate around themselves.

The floor level of the arena was lined with chairs that quickly filled up with eager fans as they laced up and prepared to get their skate on.

Joy Braden was amongst the crowd with her two daughters, Chloe and Lucy, who believe that the Penguins are doing a great thing for fans to feel appreciated.

"This is wonderful," Braden exclaimed. "All weekend, this is what she talked about. We love bringing the kids down here when they have these events to skate. They think it is awesome."

It is safe to say everyone was thrilled about being able to skate on the Penguins' ice, but 6-year-old Pierce Meyer may have been the most excited as he got on the ice in full hockey attire.

Pierce recently started playing ice hockey through Robert Morris' Learn to Play Program and mom Melissa Meyer said he was so excited to come skate that he barely slept and woke up shouting; "We get to skate where Sid and Malkin skate!"

"I am really excited," Peirce said with the biggest grin. "Malkin and Crosby and Letang are my favorites. My favorite is watching them score goals!"

As Pierce took laps around the rink, Meyer shared how beyond gracious she and her husband were for the opportunities that the Penguins are offering to the public.

"We are huge Penguins fans," Meyers said. "We don't get to come to the games often because we have two young kids, so events like this mean so much to them. It is fantastic and we can't wait to see the Stanley Cup Thursday at Market Square."

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