It was a gathering of decades at the Valley Brook Country Club in McMurray on Tuesday.
In the 16th Annual Penguins Alumni Charity Golf Classic presented by 84 Lumber, former members of the organization from Throughout the Decades – 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s – played 18 holes to benefit various area charities.
Among those swinging the iron included current owner/Hall of Famer/Living Legend Mario Lemieux, Eddie Johnston, Jay Caufield, Pierre Larouche, Troy Loney, Ron Schock, Greg Malone, Randy Hillier, Ken Schinkel, Warren Young and more.
Schinkel was a member of the original Penguins team in the 1967-68 season. He finished his playing career with Pittsburgh, retiring in the middle of the 1972-73 season. But just one day after retiring, Schinkel was named head coach on Jan. 13. Schinkel served two tenures as the team’s head coach (1973-74; 76-77).
“I was with the original group in ’67,” Schinkel said. “To see some of the guys that followed me and have been a part of the organization from Day 1 is a great feeling, to be here with these guys and see the guys you haven’t seen in a long while.”
The proceeds from the charity will be split evenly between the Penguins Foundation, Achieve and Magee Women’s Research Foundation.
“Over the past 16 years we’ve raised over a half million dollars for various charities; It’s great to have all the alumni back in town and exchange stories,” Penguins Foundation president Dave Soltesz said. “It brings back memories. When you’re a little bit older, a senior like I am, you look at some of the players that are here and those fantastic plays and moments in Penguins’ history.”
There was one alumnus, who participated in the charity classic for the first time. Terry Ruskowski co-captained the Penguins in 1986-87. Tuesday was his first opportunity to catch up with former teammates.
“When they asked me back I was very flattered to begin with,” Ruskowski said. “I haven’t seen these guys since I left. To see them again is really good, their smiling faces, their old nicknames, their old bad habits; it’s nice. It makes me feel like a part of the team again.”