Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Pittsburgh Penguins

Pens deliver tickets to fans

by Pens writing staff @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Proctor family huddled in the living room when their father, Kristopher, gave his three young children a pep talk.

The family was eagerly awaiting the arrival of a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday afternoon. Which particular player, they did not know. 

In fact, that was the reasoning behind the family meeting.

"I told my kids that if you don't know (which player) it is, don't just say 'Who are you?'" Kristopher laughed. "Just say hi and if you don't know who it is, we'll look at the jersey and figure it out because we were worried it would be a new player that they hadn't seen yet."

But when the player arrived and rang the doorbell, it was safe to say that the kids knew exactly whom it was.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby hand delivered the Proctor's season-ticket package for the upcoming year as part of the team's annual Season-Ticket-Holder Delivery.

"To have any player from the team come would have been awesome," said Kristopher, a season-ticket holder for over a decade. "The fact that it was the best player in the world playing in my driveway with my kids, this is one of those experiences that I'm so thankful that I'm a season-ticket holder. I can't replicate this moment in my life.

"I know my sons will be talking about this 20 years from now that they got to play with one of the greats in my driveway. It's something we'll never forget."

Crosby gave hugs, signed autographs, posed for pictures and played some mini-sticks with the kids in the driveway. In fact, the garage door in that driveway may have looked a little familiar due to its various blemishes.

"Our garage door was inspired by your dryer," Kristopher joked to Crosby, in reference to the famous dryer from Crosby's family home.

The Proctor's children - Adam, 9, Kara, 7, and Josh, 4 - all play hockey and were members of Crosby's own Little Penguins Learn to Play Program. To which, Kristopher thanked Crosby for starting the initiative.

But that wasn't the only Pens' program that influenced Kristopher's life. It was another program that led Kristopher down the road to becoming a season-ticket holder in the first place.

"It all started back when they started the Student Rush program," he said. "Someone told me about the program. I was an avid Pens fan. I would go when I was young. Whenever we heard about it we would get in line for an hour or two and get tickets. When I got a job and had the money I said I'm ready to just be a season-ticket holder and not stand outside anymore."

*Crosby also stopped by to visit the McLaughlin family, whose home features a basement - or shrine - the Pens and Pittsburgh sports.

In the backyard a mass of friends and family were gathered, each taking turns getting pictures with Crosby in front of an old Penguins Stanley Cup banner from the early 90s.

Crosby, a former youth hockey goalie, even signed the leg pad of young netminder Kyle, 10, who plays in Brookline.

*The Rick family wasn't season-ticket holders when they woke up this morning.

But thanks to the Penguins and People's Gas, not to mention a special delivery from goaltender Matt Murray, the Ricks now have a full-season package for the upcoming campaign.

"We are so blown away and so excited," mother Sharon said. "We're huge Pens fans and can't wait to cheer from on for a three-peat!"

Murray handed the surprise box to the family and Sharon let her two young daughters - Shelby and Sadie - open the box while her husband, Rob, stood by. The girls shrieked with excitement when they opened the box.

"This is amazing," Shelby said. Sister Sadie followed with: "I can't stop smiling."

* Jason and Holly Pribilovich have identical twin boys named Sam and Louis, who were anxiously waiting to see which Penguin would be delivering their season tickets. Louis had on a Sidney Crosby sweater, while Sam was wearing a Kris Letang jersey. Sam ended up choosing right, as it was the Pens defenseman who visited their house. When Letang was greeted at the door, he started laughing. "Identical twins? One of you must be smarter," Letang joked.

The 7-year-olds, who are in second grade, were giddy about having Letang over, with one of them exclaiming that it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. After Letang signed Sam's jersey - and before that, their yearbooks - Jason joked that not many kids can say that. Louis, watching from the other side of the kitchen, let out a gleeful cackle. When asked if their friends would be jealous, Letang joked that they might be more jealous that Sam and Louis got to miss school.

While players usually get asked to grab a stick and join in on some street hockey, the Pribilovich family had more of a unique request. They wanted Letang to play Gaga ball with them, which is a form of dodgeball the kids learned from their English gym teacher at school. The rules are simple - players try to hit opponents with a ball below the knees, using only their hands. The Pribiloviches have a pit in their backyard, so Letang hopped in with Jason and the boys. Jason won the first game, so of course the ultra competitive Letang wanted a rematch. And this time, he won. "We're done!" Letang joked. "You're only as good as your last game."

Since the Pribiloviches have two season tickets, one parent and one twin rotate going to games - except for their birthday, when all four go. Though they may make an exception for Marc-Andre Fleury's first game back in Pittsburgh, since the boys adore him - Holly said they were in tears and just beside themselves when the goaltender was taken by Las Vegas in the expansion draft.

* Letang had lengthy conversations at every house he visited, with everyone telling him they're glad he's recovered and they're looking forward to seeing him play. He genuinely enjoyed meeting with everyone, saying that after the support they've gotten from the fans - especially these last two years - it's the least they can do.

"It's huge," he said. "It's one of the things the players all talk about, how the city is behind the team and the support that we have from them. To see it in the last few years has been incredible and that's our way to give back to them and tell them how much they're important to us."

* It was fun to see the reaction Jake Guentzel got at every house he visited after his breakout season, as he certainly wasn't on a lot of people's radars at this time last year. That has definitely changed, to say the least.

Dale Porter, who had season tickets in the 1990s and got them back the week the Penguins won the draft lottery in 2005, reflected on how Guentzel took the league by storm when he came up last year. And both Porter and Mark Rosen asked him about his famous linemate Crosby, joking that he definitely ended up with decent linemates his first year.

At Rosen's house, his son Zach's girlfriend Jacqueline told Guentzel about watching his NHL debut last November against the Rangers. She used to work at a brewery, where they always had the games on. "We were watching, and we saw the first goal, then the second goal," she said. "Immediately we were like, 'what is even happening? Why don't we know who that is?' So we put the sound on so we could get more information, and they kept replaying his family's reaction. Pretty much ever since that we were paying very close attention to him on the ice." Needless to say, to see Guentzel walking up the steps to deliver season tickets made her very happy.

"The support we get, to bring this out here, it means a lot to them and it's cool to see how excited they are," Guentzel said. "Just to interact with them and realize how long they've been there for us, you don't think about it sometimes. We wouldn't be here without the fans, so we're pretty lucky."

*Justin Schultz made three stops on his day, one of them being to Steve Delasio of Moon Township, a season-ticket holder since 1985. With Penguins apparel sprinkled throughout the household and joined by his family, Delasio exclaimed, "This is the best, it's incredible. It doesn't get any better than this."

On his third house, Schultz was greeted by Emma, 2, of Coraopolis, who was sporting a Penguins headband. Emma high-fived and fist bumped the defenseman before walking up to him and giving him a hug. For the record, the Penguins were 18-0-2 in games Emma attended last season.

"I got to spend time with three great families and they were all excited," Schultz said. "I got to learn a little bit about them, and how long they've had season tickets for. It was nice to get to put some smiles on their faces."

*On his first trip, Carter Rowney was greeted by Nate, 9, and Olivia Scrabis, 11, of Wexford. Nate had one request, to play a period of NHL 17 with Rowney. Both playing as the Penguins, Nate fed Rowney, who scored on a one-timer just 1:54 into the game.

From the virtual ice to the pavement, Rowney tended goal in the driveway against Jack, 6, and Jake, 11, also from Wexford, as Julia, 10, looked on. Rowney and Jake traded turns in net, creating a shootout that Jake prevailed in. "It was definitely really fun, and really cool," Jake exclaimed. He touted out Rowney's weakness in his unfamiliar position, "you need to shoot at the bottom corners," Jake said.

Though most Penguins are veterans of ticket delivery, Rowney is a rookie.

"It was good. It's fun to get to see some of the faces that support us throughout the year," he said. "The fans are what makes it exciting to play the game. I'm very grateful to play with an organization like Pittsburgh, with the unbelievable fan support that they have. The kids look up to you, it's fun to interact with them, play a game with them. Just the little things that they'll hopefully remember."

Video: Players deliver tickets to season ticket holders

View More