Max Talbot knows a thing or two about construction, which is why he was so excited to visit the Consol Energy Center construction crew on Tuesday.
“My dad is a construction worker, so I can really relate to these guys,” Talbot said. “It was nice to meet the guys that are working on the rink and everything.”
Talbot, along with Jordan Staal
, Pascal Dupuis
and Tyler Kennedy
provided the Consol Energy construction crew a lunch of Pizza Hut pizzas, Shearers snacks and Penguins purified water at the construction site across the street from the Mellon Arena.
The neon-vested crewmembers crowded around the hockey players to chat and get autographs. Many of the workers show their support for the team by displaying Penguins stickers on their hard hats, which some workers had the players autograph.
“I know where center ice is going to be,” one crew woman boasted to Staal as he talked with a small group.
Many of the workers who asked for autographs didn’t even want the signatures for themselves, but for family members. “You just made me a hero,” one worker said to Talbot as he signed a jersey for the man’s nephew.
“I really love the Penguins and this is just an extra bonus to meet the players,” Shawn Horne, a steel worker of 18 years, said. “We’re working on their new home and it’s nice to see they’re interested to see how we’re all doing. It’s really good for morale and I’m sure all of the gentleman here really appreciate (the visit).”
During the visit, Dupuis was given the opportunity to operate the backhoe and he learned that construction work is harder than it looks.
“It was hard,” Dupuis said. “There are a lot of shifters and pedals and you have to pull something, open the other one, turn one, and turn the other. It’s a lot harder than it looks. The worker told me if you press on it that it will go forward and I pressed on it and it went backward, so I think he was toying with me.”
The Consol Energy Center crew enjoyed the complimentary lunch provided by the Penguins as a gesture of gratitude to the crew’s hard work.
“It’s great to see those guys,” Kennedy said. “They’re all great guys and you can tell they are all hard workers. It’s great to go over there and show them that we are supporting them.”
After the food was gone, the four Penguins posed with the entire crew for a photo in the future arena entrance before departing.
Joe Rupprecht is one worker who was ecstatic to meet the players. Joe is a single dad from Bethel Park who became a hockey fan because of his son, Ethan.
“My son’s room is filled with all sorts of Penguins stuff and autographs so it was kind of nice that they could come out today,” Rupprecht said. “It’s great to realize that they appreciate what we’re doing. It’s nice that they take out some of their time to come down and meet with the workers. It’s a nice gesture.”