On Monday afternoon the Pens took part in their annual season-ticket delivery, where players don their jerseys and hand-deliver packages to season-ticket holders.
However, there were a few twists this year. A select few actually came to CONSOL Energy Center to pick up their tickets, and unknowingly were greeted by Marc-Andre Fleury, Phil Kessel, Kris Letang, head coach Mike Johnston and Sidney Crosby (click here for more on that).
In another twist, winger Pascal Dupuis put on a FedEx uniform and rode in a FedEx truck to a few house to deliver his ticket packages (more on that here).
The rest of the players took part in the typical home and business deliveries. Here are a few of the highlights below.
Best friends Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar got to deliver tickets together. The pair made a couple stops on their route, and a lot of memories. At one point, Gonchar hoisted a 2-year-old boy on his shoulders and paraded him around the yard.
“I miss my kids,” Gonchar said.
“But do you miss me?” Malkin replied.
The duo also played a couple rounds of basketball with three children in the Alberts family. Even though the net was low, Malkin showed off some nice touch. Although Gonchar wasn’t as successful. Which Malkin noted.
“Gonch, this is not your sport.”
At the final home, the Salopek family, the Russian roommates Skyped the family’s daughter, who was away in D.C. The visit concluded and Malkin and Gonchar got back into their car for home. One family member ran up to the car to show that the daughter’s husband had arrived home and wanted to see the two players via Skype.
“Let’s go Pens!” Malkin shouted as the car pulled away.
*Ben Lovejoy began his first season-ticket delivery by surprising the friends and family of Woodings Industrial Corporation in Mars and taking pictures with an entire office at Trib Total Media on the North Shore.
“It’s always fun to be out in the community as a Pittsburgh Penguin,” Lovejoy said. “To see how excited people are to have you drop off tickets, it makes you appreciate how loved the Penguins are here in Pittsburgh.”
*Perhaps the biggest surprise came for 6-year-old Laramie at the Burns White law firm, who is currently battling terminal illness.
One of the firm’s founding members, David Damico, wanted to make this day all about Laramie. “It’s the least we could do,” Damico said. “Anything to brighten her day in the slightest way.”
As soon as Lovejoy walked into the room, Laramie’s face lit up. He gave her the season tickets to hold and even signed her shirt. Lovejoy had a similar reaction.
“That was very cool,” Lovejoy said. “To have that visit revolve around her, I think, is pretty special.”
*This wasn’t just Eric Fehr’s first time delivering season tickets. It was also his first time in a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey. The Cunninghams had the first glimpse.
“It was really cool because he’s one of the new guys,” 16-year-old Elspeth said. “I get to brag now that I got to meet him before anybody else did.”
Her 12-year-old sister, Lily, was holding her freshly autographed sock monkey grinning ear to ear. “It not like any other experience I’ve ever had,” she said. “It was really cool.”
Unfortunately, their son Ian is away at his freshman year of college. That didn’t stop the family from making him part of the fun.
For the family Christmas card, Fehr held Ian’s picture between the two sisters. He also recorded a small video message for Ian.
“Hey Ian! Sorry you had to miss the season-ticket delivery,” Fehr told the camera. “Hopefully you have a good year this year and good luck in school. Study hard!”
Fehr finished the day by visiting 28-year season-ticket holder, Adrian Fenton and his family in Franklin Park. His son, Noah, was open to Fehr being his new favorite player.
“Whoever scores that day,” Noah responded when Fehr asked him about his favorite player.
“I can be the guy now,” Fehr replied with a grin.