Smiles filled many young faces today as the Penguins participated in their annual “Penguins Personal Shopping Day” at the Dick’s Sporting Goods location in the Mall at Robinson as part of the Salvation Army’s “Project Bundle-Up” event. Several of the players were participating in this event for the first time, and each came away impressed with the day’s festivities.
“You have one kid you get to take around and get to know, compared to some of the signings where you just say, ‘Hi, how’s it going?’” Deryk Engelland
said. “You get to bond with them and talk to them here. Hopefully we make their winter better.”
Each player was matched with a child from the Carnegie Salvation Army and given a large, green shopping bag to fill. Among the requirements were a jacket, boots, scarf and gloves. Whatever else that found its way into the bag was up to the individual pair.
“It was a special day,” said Craig Adams
, making his first “Project Bundle-Up” appearance. “It is something that a lot of people take for granted that everyone has warm clothes to wear in the winter. When you see some kids that don’t it is tough.
“For Dick’s to have us out here and help these kids get some warm coats, boots and hats, it is great for Dick’s, great for these kids and it’s a great opportunity for us to come out and help them out. Having kids of my own, for sure it hits home.”
Another newcomer to “Project Bundle-Up” was Bill Guerin, who like Adams has young children of his own, making this event all the more special. Guerin escorted a young man by the name of Marcus around the store.
“It was awesome,” Guerin said. “Marcus and I became buddies and got to pal around for a while. We did some shopping and picked out some cool stuff. It was a lot of fun.
“This is what I like. I thought this was pretty cool. I have a daughter Marcus’ age so I know the age group and what they are like. It was all about having fun today.”
If fun was Guerin’s goal then he succeeded according to Marcus.
“It was good!” Marcus said. “We got a coat, hat and gloves. He even bought me brown Timberlands!”
“We also got him a Penguins scarf and some Under Armor,” Guerin said. “It was a good time.”
Netminder Brent Johnson
was equally impressed with Tuesday’s event. In previous National Hockey League stops with St. Louis, Phoenix and Washington he said he never had the chance to do something like “Project Bundle-Up.”
“This is great,” Johnson said. “I have never done this with any other team. This is just a great idea. I would like to thank Dick’s for letting us help these kids out. This is such a great event.
“I took around Robert Good. He was just a great kid. I told him my name and I made him write it down so he wouldn’t forget it. I bought him a basketball. I told him next time I see him, I want him to be able to dribble through his legs.”
It sounds as if Good plans to make good on Johnson’s request.
“I am going to practice because I am playing basketball this year,” Good said.
One newcomer familiar to this event is defenseman Nate Guenin, who grew up in Beaver County. The recent recall from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton enjoyed his first chance to give back to the city where he grew up.
“When I heard we were doing it I was excited,” Guenin said. “It’s pretty cool to be able to give back to the community, but particularly one that’s your hometown. Just to see how these kids’ faces light up, it’s something special.
“Just the smiles on the kids’ faces, anytime you can brighten up somebody else’s day, especially kids this age, and dress them up nice and warm for the winter it’s a pretty good feeling.”