Gary Roberts and Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier will be among the former Penguins players greeting 81 campers at the 9th annual Pittsburgh Penguins Adult Hockey Fantasy Camp this weekend at Iceoplex at Southpointe and CONSOL Energy Center.
The Penguins also will host a very special guest at the camp as cancer survivor Eric Naughton will be one of the participants. Naughton, 40, who grew up as a Penguins fan in Erie, is now an independent filmmaker living in Los Angeles, and he said his dream after recently recovering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma was to learn to play hockey and skate in the Penguins’ fantasy camp.
“People out here were like, ‘why don’t you want to go to the Los Angeles Kings’ fantasy camp?’” Naughton told Yahoo.com in a story reported last summer on the Yahoo Sports Puck Daddy blog. “I said, ‘because I’m not a Kings’ fan.’ There’s no fantasy there. The fantasy is going back to Pittsburgh and putting that sweater on that has the Penguins logo on the front and your name on the back. And that’s your sweater. I can say I got slashed in the wrist in that sweater. Or Bryan Trottier cross-checked me into the goal posts!”
Members of the Penguins organization read the story online and immediately arranged for Naughton to attend this weekend’s camp as the team’s special guest. He’ll now have a chance to play alongside Roberts, Trottier and other former players such as Dennis Owchar, Dave Roche and Mitch Lamoureux. And he’ll also have the thrill of skating on the ice at the team’s new home, CONSOL Energy Center.
The camp opens on Friday with a round-robin tournament among five teams at Iceoplex at Southpointe, starting at 1 p.m. (immediately following the Penguins’ practice at Southpointe).
The campers will attend the Penguins’ game against Montreal Saturday at 2 p.m. at CONSOL Energy Center before returning to Southpointe to complete their own round-robin action, starting at 6 p.m.
On Sunday, the group will take in the Penguins’ game against Edmonton at 3 p.m., then play the camp semifinals and championship game at CONSOL Energy Center.
Many local adult hockey players will be taking part, but the camp also has attracted participants from Nevada, Texas, Arizona, Virginia, South Carolina, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Florida and Illinois in addition to California -- as well as from three Canadian provinces and Dachau, Germany. RELATED ARTICLE: Yahoo Sports story on Eric Naughton >RELATED ARTICLE: Pens Invite Fan To Fantasy Camp After Reading His Inspirational Story > RELATED VIDEO: Eric Naughton's Special Visit (9/2/10) >