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Jarry's first All-Star experience is a memorable one

by Michelle Crechiolo @PensInsideScoop / Penguins Team Reporter

As Tristan Jarry was about to get dressed to leave for his flight to St. Louis on Thursday, he came to a realization - he didn't know what to wear.

The Penguins have a business casual dress code when it comes to traveling on the team charter. But with this being the 24-year-old goaltender's first All-Star Game, he wasn't sure if he could wear casual clothes, like sweats, or if he should look presentable. 

So Jarry opted to play it safe and wear a burgundy polo, plaid dress pants, tan dress boots and a hat (or toque, as they say in Canada).

"I didn't really know what to wear, so I just wore what we usually wear to the plane," Jarry said with a smile and a shrug. "So if I have to go anywhere from the plane, I'm ready. I'd rather be overdressed than undressed. I think that's always the best case."

Jarry didn't really know what to expect from the weekend as a whole, after it was announced on Jan. 7 that he would be joining Kris Letang as an injury replacement for Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo. 

Tweet from @penguins: Hey now, you're an All Star. pic.twitter.com/v6Cp3lyDvs

"It's something that I'm just going to take in stride and have a lot of fun with," Jarry said.

His weekend began with a 12 p.m. Southwest flight out of Pittsburgh International Airport. Jarry arrived at the gate about an hour and a half before takeoff, and while we waited, we talked about the parts of the All-Star Game he liked watching the most - Accuracy Shooting and the Breakaway Challenge - and who he was most looking forward to meeting.

Jarry said having this opportunity to spend time with other players from around the league wasn't something he ever thought about growing up.

"You're more like, 'Oh, that's a good goalie and that'd be cool to play against them one day, or even just watch them live in person,'" he said.

For Jarry and his brother Dawson, who is younger by two years, that goalie was always Montreal's Carey Price. 

"I remember my parents always bringing me to watch Carey Price when we were growing up in Vancouver," said Jarry, who is from North Delta, British Columbia. "So whenever the Canadiens played the Canucks, we would go and watch Price. It was something where me and my brother always looked up to him and always watched him play a lot."

And while Price wasn't at this weekend's festivities, Jarry was able to meet him during his first NHL season.

"My first year I was able to meet him and I got a jersey from him and everything for my brother, so it was pretty cool," Jarry said. "I remember Dawson's phone screen has always been Carey Price, so I was like, it'd be pretty cool to get a Carey Price jersey for him. He was awesome about it. He wrote my brother's name on the jersey and everything. So it was something that was special."

As we talked, a woman approached.

"Excuse me, are you Tristan Jarry?" she said. "Can you sign this for my son? I was at the game the other night."

It happened to be an IceTime game program from the Jan. 19 game against Boston - which just happened to feature Jarry on the cover.

That was just one of the numerous interactions Jarry had throughout the afternoon, as he also ran into the entire Penn State men's hockey team during check-in and had a few other fans stop and ask for selfies. 

That continued into St. Louis as he waited for his suitcase at the baggage claim before heading to the hotel. It's been pretty surreal for Jarry to be the one asked for autographs instead of the other way around.

"It's quite different for me, I'm usually one of the quiet people on the team," Jarry said. "I don't really like too much attention. Being in front of it all, it's definitely been a change for me."

He was definitely the center of attention later that afternoon at the NHL All-Star Media Day at Stifel Theatre. Set up on the stage were numbered podiums, where the players spoke by division. The Metro went first, with Jarry set up at No. 6 between Philadelphia's Travis Konecny and NY Rangers' Chris Kreider.

Jarry sat there and fielded questions from reporters for about 15 minutes, mostly about his season and how he went from making the opening-night roster for the first time to becoming an All-Star.

Tweet from @penguins: Here's what Tristan Jarry had to say at today's #NHLAllStar media availability. ������ pic.twitter.com/AaT8AHssqs

"It's exciting to be here," Jarry said. "It's something I never really thought of at the beginning of the season. But I'm glad to be here."

From there, he went to dinner at a steakhouse with his girlfriend, his brother and his parents, Dave and Michelle. The next day, he spent some more time with them before arriving at the Enterprise Center to walk the red carpet ahead of All-Star Skills with Letang and his 7-year-old son, Alex - the breakout star of the weekend.

"The red carpet was fun. It was exciting," Jarry said. "It was very cold. But it was exciting to see all the people and how many people come to the event. I'd never seen it in person so it's cool to see that aspect of it."

Once Jarry got into the Eastern Conference locker room and sat in his stall next to Washington's Braden Holtby, that's when it really started to sink in that he was at the All-Star Game. Once they took the ice for the competition, Jarry and Holtby chatted while stretching alongside each other, one of the many interactions they had throughout the weekend.

"Seeing Holtby was pretty cool," Jarry said. "I'd gotten to see him quite a bit but never met him. He was very open. I asked a lot of questions just about the weekend and what we would be doing, and he's been through it many times so he helped me a lot."

Holtby is known for being one of the nicest players in the league, and he certainly lived up to his reputation with Jarry - with the two of them bonding over being from western Canada.

"It's awesome to see him here," Holtby said before adding with a laugh. "He's a Western kid, so we've got to stick together a little bit."

When Jarry wasn't hanging out with Holtby, he was sitting alongside Kris and Alex - even handling babysitting duty when Dad had to do interviews. His event was the Save Streak, where he finished tied for sixth among the eight goaltenders with four in a row.

Tweet from @penguins: 🙅��������� pic.twitter.com/Q5mE6O2ZZI

The next day, Jarry stopped at the Fan Fair before heading back to the rink to prepare for the All-Star Game itself. Before the game began, he was able to get two of his goalie sticks signed by every All-Stars from both the Eastern and Western Conferences.

Tweet from @penguins: #NHLAllStar Weekend feels. 😄 pic.twitter.com/lYnDxHCdwF

"It's something I'll keep forever," Jarry said, who added that he's recently started a jersey collection of his own. "Those are things I'll keep forever just to have a keepsake to know that I played against those guys."

In Section 116, just above center ice, Jarry's parents, brother and his billets, the Rutsch family - Ernie and Lori and their sons Khenan and Craig - all sat together in Row Q.

"Just having my parents here and being able to share that with them, and having my whole family able to watch, I think that's an unforgettable moment and something we'll cherish as a family forever," Jarry said. "It was nice to have my billets here too. They've been a big part of my life and I think it's neat they're able to come down and watch."

As parents of a goalie, Dave and Michelle tend to get incredibly nervous while watching Tristan play. When they are at home, Michelle will watch from their bedroom while Dave will watch from Tristan's room. 

"And everybody knows don't text me, because I'm not going to answer!" Michelle said with a laugh.

They don't get the chance to watch Tristan live, so they were thrilled for the opportunity to do so this weekend. And even though they still had a little bit of nerves watching Tristan from the stands - with Michelle joking that her palms were sweating - they were mostly able to sit and enjoy it.

"It's not too bad with this, because there's no expectations, right?" Michelle said. "But it's just unreal for this to be happening to him in such a short time with the Penguins."

As Jarry was introduced and skated to the blue line, Dave and Michelle clapped quietly as he took his spot next to Holtby. After that, Dave got out his iPhone and took a few pictures of Tristan. 

For him and Michelle, it still hadn't quite kicked in that their son was an NHL All-Star. But they were trying to savor every moment as much as they could, particularly the chance just to spend some time with him.

"It still doesn't seem real," Michelle said. "It's more of the experiencing it with him."

Holtby played the first 10-minute period for the Metro against the Atlantic, with Jarry sitting on the bench patiently waiting his turn. Michelle pointed out Flyers mascot Gritty sitting right next to him inside of the glass, trying to heckle Tristan.

"I did see him, but I tried not to make eye contact," Jarry said with a laugh.

Jarry took over for the second 10-minute period, and quickly realized the challenge he was up against.

"I guess when they first came down and made that first pass across the ice - I think that was the biggest realization just that I was out there and how fast it was all happening," he said. "It was fun to be a part of and fun to be out there with some of the best players in the world. You see how quick things turn and how fast the game is."

The Atlantic ended up prevailing 9-5, which meant the festivities had come to an end for Jarry. After the game, Alex took the PensTV microphone over to Jarry and asked him how much fun he had this weekend.

"Lots of fun," Jarry said. "It was lots of fun to play with your dad and have him show me everything and spend time with you and him together. That's what memories are made of."

With that, it was time for Jarry to board the plane back to Pittsburgh with the Letang boys. The Penguins return to game action on Friday against Philadelphia, and Jarry will spend the next few days reflecting, relaxing and getting ready to pick up where he left off.

"It's set in a little bit," Jarry said. "I'm sure it's something that will take a couple days and I'll be able to think about it and realize all what happened. But I think it's nice to know that I'm able to do it, I'm able to be here. And I think just moving forward, to get better from it."

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