Penguins fans had the opportunity of a lifetime Monday night, skating alongside hockey legends and Stanley Cup champions in the “Skate With The Greats” event held at the outdoor rink Penguins Pond at South Side Works.
“This is an exciting evening for us as alumni,” Bryan Trottier said. “It’s nice to say thanks to the fans for all their support over the years, even more so for remembering us. It’s been a few years since some of us have played. It’s exhilarating being outside in the fresh air. Talk a little hockey and share a few memories. It’s a great evening.”
|Pens fans skate with team alumni |
For just $20 500 lucky fans got to skate, mingle, chat and receive autographs from popular alumni Trottier, Mark Recchi, Phil Bourque, Ken Wregget, Jay Caufield, Troy Loney and more with the proceeds benefiting Penguins Alumni Charities, including breast cancer awareness.
“The one thing I loved was bringing my dad and little brother. It’s a huge thrill for my dad,” said Benjamin Peters Penn Hills. “I made the purchase on my phone. Then I called him and said, ‘Know where we’re going into two weeks? We’re going to skate with the old Pens.’”
“It was a lot of fun. We had a good time,” said Benjamin’s father Chris Peters. “My sons knew about it. They invited me to come and I’m having a great time.
“These are guys that I grew up watching. I was joking with EJ (Eddie Johnston) about if he’d still take the Stastny brothers with that No. 1 overall pick. I enjoyed it very much.”
In addition to the above mentioned players, also attending were Peter Taglianetti, Randy Hillier, Pierre Larouche, Kim Clackson, George Ferguson, Dave Hannan, Eddie Johnston, Alain Lemieux, Francios Leroux, Jack Riley, Duane Rupp and Warren Young.
“I’m just trying not to fall. I’m just glad there’s no contact here tonight,” joked Hillier, who was showing off his 1991 Stanley Cup ring to fans. “This is a lot of fun. It’s nice for those that have followed us over the years to see them. We reminisced about the games of yesteryear and for the young ones, they’ve heard about us and may have seen some film, but it’s the next generation of players. We’re excited to be out here and supporting hockey and the youth in our communities.”
|Former Pen Mark Recchi poses for photos |
“I remember some of the big games that they’ve played in,” Don Koffler of Moon Township said. “This is a dream for me. My 9-year-old granddaughter plays for two hockey teams. She’s on the ice with my son, who is almost 40 and plays in an adult league. They’re quite active in hockey.
“My daughter-in-law got some of the first tickets because she knew my son and granddaughter would love this. They asked if I’d like to go with them. I said yeah, this is great. This is a dream come true. Watching them skate and interact is wonderful. I have a lot of videos and photos.”
Chris Peters was so excited to skate with the Pens that he broke out his old pair of skates, which his sons joking said date back to the 1970s.
“These haven’t come out of the cupboard for about 20 years” Chris said. “They need sharpened, but I’m breaking them back in. It got me back in the groove. My sons play hockey, maybe they’ll see their old man do circles around them.”
The influence of Penguins hockey in the Peters household is obvious. Just ask Daniel.
“The one joke my dad always makes fun of me for is that my first words were Bob Errey,” Daniel said.
Also during the skate, wives of Penguins Alumni participated in a fundraising bake sale of snacks and treats.
Penguins Pond is presented by Highmark and is available for public outdoor skating. Click here for more information
on public skating schedules and skate rentals.