Marc-Andre Fleury made an impact on a few lucky fans even before manning the net in Saturday’s win over New Jersey.
It’s because of a new program called “Flower’s Front Row Seats.” Fleury purchased four rinkside seats for every Penguins game this season – and they’ll be given away on each game day to four young fans who originally bought discounted Student Rush tickets in the upper seating bowl.
The first “winners” were Rhett Maze of Evan City, his brother Hunter Maze and Todd Purvis. They were randomly selected and informed by the Penguins ticketing department when they arrived to pick up their Student Rush tickets at CONSOL Energy Center.
After hearing they had been chosen to sit in the front row of Section 118, directly behind the net, they stood in stunned silence.
“I’m speechless. There’s nothing I can really say anything right now, it’s overwhelming right now,” said Rhett, who attends Penn State-Beaver. “I definitely didn’t expect this.”
Fleury said he is glad that the students were able to have a good experience and that he wanted to give something back to the fan base.
“The students make a line outside to get the tickets so it’s pretty cool that some get to have a glass seat,” Fleury said. “I’d say ‘Thanks for coming to the game.’ It’s also fun for me to have them come to the game.”
Not only do the winners get to sit right on the glass, they also will be fully refunded for their Student Rush purchase.
Purvis said he thinks this will add even more incentive for high school and college students to participate in the Student Rush.
“It’s going to be the best experience I’ve ever had,” Purvis said before the game. “I’m going to let Brodeur hear it. I’m just going to tell him that Fleury is better. Either way you’re going to see a great team play a great game, but this I can’t explain it. I’m still shaking. The whole game I’m going to be shaking.”
Saturday’s winners welcomed the news with a massive group high-five and a thunderous “Let’s Go Pens” shout.
Wide grins crossed their faces as Hunter said “I still don’t know if this is real.”
“This morning I thought that we might not even come here, so this is unreal,” Hunter, who attends East Liverpool High School said. “(Rhett) said there’s only a 20 percent chance that we’d get the Rush tickets, so we were thinking that we wouldn’t even come and now we’re down here. It’s unbelievable.”
Their initial shock quickly faded as they were led to their seats. They began banging on the glass and screamed “Thank you Flower!”
Each of them had been to several Penguins games, but none had ever sat right on the glass. They said they couldn’t have been more thankful of Fleury and the rest of the Penguins organization.
“I’ve been a fan since he was drafted. He and all the Pens are grateful for their fans and help the fans,” Rhett said. “The fans support them and they do as much as they can to support the fans.”