turned to another form of hockey on Thursday.
After backstopping his team to a win on the ice on Wednesday, Penguins goaltender
Fleury took part in an afternoon of floor hockey at the Estelle S. Campbell Boys & Girls Club in Lawrenceville, as over thirty children from the Lawrenceville area jumped at the chance to rub shoulders with one of their heroes.
Fleury spoke to the children before the hockey clinic before taking part in a skills session which included dribbling, passing and shooting. While that last skill is something Fleury doesn’t practice much from his position between the pipes, no matter – his trademark smile was present throughout the entire afternoon of hockey.
“It was fun,” Fleury said. “It was great to meet the kids and play some hockey.”
The facilities were built after a generous donation was given to the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania, and has benefited many children since renovation and rebuilding work was completed nearly ten years ago.
Steven Porco is someone who has benefited firsthand from the addition of the floor hockey rink, installed as part of those renovations.
Porco, 13, is a goalie himself and was particularly excited to meet his hero Fleury. He also picked up some valuable tips from the All-Star goaltender along the way.
“He really encouraged me and he told me one thing, ‘Just keep your guard up.’ He was the best,” Porco said.
The Boys & Girls Club, located on Butler Street, has incredible facilities, including two large indoor gymnasiums, a computer lab and large areas designated for studying and other programs. It is a wonderful haven for any youngsters who are looking to enjoy the many activities the club has to offer.
Mike Hepler, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania, was delighted to see the children involved laughing and joking with the Penguins goalie as part of the long-standing relationship between the two organizations. Fleury signed autographs and posed for photos with the jubilant kids after the session concluded.
“The Pittsburgh Penguins were the first ones on board when this partnership was established,” Hepler said. “This particular building has two gymnasiums. The biggest attractions we have to get the young people off the street are sports. Once they get in the building, we then navigate them to other programs.”
The rare appearance of one of the NHL’s most talented goaltenders certainly helped create a buzz of excitement around the building. The children who got a chance to meet “Flower” surely won’t forget his visit anytime soon.
Brendan Elliot, 13, was the other goaltender Fleury played alongside during the hockey clinic and was left star-struck after meeting the Penguins netminder.
“It was nice to meet him,” Elliot said. “Everyone was very excited. I like to watch Fleury play and I try to play the same way he does.”