Other than being Valentine's Day, February 14, 2007 seemed like just another date on the calendar.
No one could have imagined that it would go down in Penguins history as the first of 600 straight sellouts - culminating today in No. 600 at PPG Paints Arena.
"To look back to 2007 and think we could sell out 600 straight games boggles the mind," said David Morehouse, the Penguins president and CEO, who grew up in Pittsburgh in the 1970s, when the team faced ticketing challenges. "It's a testament to the passion of Pittsburgh and the passion of our fans. There's no question that our fans are as resilient as our hockey team. They've been a big part of our success every step of the way."
For the record, the Penguins drew a standing-room-only sellout crowd of 17,051 at old Mellon Arena on February 14, 2007 -- a 5-4 win over Chicago. That was No. 1.
Today's standing-room-only sellout crowd of 18,655 at the much-larger PPG Paints Arena brought the streak to 600 straight games - and less than a month shy of thirteen years.
"We've been fortunate to have great players and great success here in Pittsburgh, but even that doesn't ensure automatic sellouts," Morehouse said. "There are so many factors involved. Our ownership gives us everything we need to succeed - they literally never say no. Our players are driven to win on the ice and are tremendous ambassadors in the community. Our ticketing and marketing staffs are the best in the business. And on top of everything, we've got amazing fans. The streak is a great tribute to them all."
The Penguins sold out their final twelve regular season home games in 2007 and two home playoff games that year … but, even then, no one sensed that such a streak was coming.
It wasn't until the team sold out every home game in the 2007-08 season - the first time that had happened in Penguins history - that Morehouse and others saw something special building.
The Pens have now sold out every home game for twelve full NHL seasons, from 2007-08 to 2018-19 (including playoffs), as well as the first 26 games this season.
During the streak they have drawn more than 10.8 million fans to home games in Pittsburgh.