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Penguins Bowl to Make Wishes Come True

by Deborah Francisco / Pittsburgh Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins joined local fans Thursday for an evening of bowling fun at the first ever “Pens and Pins” tournament, an event organized by the Penguins Wives Association to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater PA & Southern WV.

Each Penguins player served as a celebrity captain in the charity fundraiser tournament. Marc-Andre Fleury served as a celebrity captain, but the world-class netminder found that bowling is not his forte.

“I’m terrible,” Fleury noted. “I finished last in my group. These kids beat me. I didn’t expect that out of me, being so bad. I’ve got to work on that.”

“I already beat him, I don’t know if he’s that good at bowling,” Bryce Cunningham, 10, said. “It’s pretty fun because you just all get together and bowl.”

Despite losing to the kids in his lane, Fleury enjoyed the event for other reasons.

“It’s pretty cool just to see the kids’ smiles,” he said.

Over $21,000 was raised in the first ever fundraising event organized by the recently formed Penguins Wives Association. Many of the Penguins wives and girlfriends organized and volunteered at the event, including Debbie Fedotenko, Dorrie Eaton, Courtney Scuderi, Karen Shero and several of the players’ girlfriends.

We wanted to get more involved with the community and we felt that starting off with a really fun and casual event like bowling would be the way to achieve that. We’re hoping to do this on an annual basis. - Courtney Scuderi
“We wanted to get more involved with the community and we felt that starting off with a really fun and casual event like bowling would be the way to achieve that,” Courtney Scuderi said. “We’re hoping to do this on an annual basis.

“Erin Lilly, she works for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and she’s really been the head of running everything and orchestrating the event. She’s just been tremendous in getting everything done.”

According to Lilly, the biggest challenge in putting the event on was finding a location because most bowling alleys have leagues in the evenings that cannot be cancelled but Crafton-Ingram Lanes actually donated their facilities to the Penguins.

The evening started with FSN’s Dan Potash announcing each celebrity captain as the players came out to the Penguins’ warm-up theme song. The players sported old-school black and navy bowling shirts. Most of them also had bright neon yellow and orange bowling shoes on.

The event also included a bake sale with delectable confections baked by the wives and girlfriends. There was also a silent auction. The fans in attendance enjoyed snapping photos with the players and getting autographs.

“(This event) is great on so many levels,” said Dana Antkowiak, a marketing and communications coordinator with the local branch of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. “It’s a wonderful fundraiser for us so it can help fund wish granting activities. But more than anything, it’s wonderful to get these kids together. Being with the players, they are ecstatic. Their little faces are lighting up every minute the guys come walking in the room.”

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