For many local college and high school students, the American Eagle Outfitters Student Rush program is the most reasonable way for them to see the Penguins play at CONSOL Energy Center.
And on Tuesday evening, the Penguins showed their gratitude for the continued support of the younger fan base.
A group of Pittsburgh players, Pascal Dupuis, Jussi Jokinen, Olli Maatta, Chuck Kobasew and Deryk Engelland, and head coach Dan Bylsma carried on the tradition of hand-delivering pizzas to students waiting in line for discounted tickets prior to Tuesday night’s game against Edmonton.
“College and high school students are among our most loyal and passionate fans, and they represent the future of Penguins hockey,” said David Peart, the Penguins’ Senior VP of Sales and Service.
Tuesday night marked the first of five special expanded Student Rush events, when over 500 seats are reserved for students only and the traditional Student Rush line is formed along Fifth Ave. hours prior to puck drop.
For Penguins forward Chuck Kobasew, it was one of his first opportunities to interact with Penguins fans since signing with the team prior to the season.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Kobasew said. “For them to line up for I don’t know how many hours they’ve been here for, they’re excited about coming to the game tonight. Playing in different markets you see different types of fans, but the fans here are very passionate, everyone has jerseys and it is great to play in front of them.”
A select group of Penguins fans at the front of the line started their student rush experience over 16 hours prior to the pizza delivery. And for them, it was all worth it to have to the chance to pose for pictures with their favorite players prior to puck drop.
“It was pretty fun to see them come out. One of my favorite players - Pascal Dupuis - came out so I was pretty excited about that. It was nice to see them interacting with the fans,” said Alexa Apicella, a Duquesne student.
Kevin Burkhardt and a group of his friends woke up this morning in Fredrick, Maryland with no plans for the day, but soon realized they couldn’t pass up a chance to see the Penguins play.
“Me and my buddy left Fredrick and drove four hours,” Burkhardt said. “We were very pumped when they came out with pizza. I could not believe a player came here and gave us pizza, I was so pumped. Now we are ready for the game.”