( Photo Gallery
) The Penguins wrapped up their regular-season home schedule Wednesday night.
It gave the players a chance to thank their fans, who have flocked to Mellon Arena in record numbers this season.
Sidney Crosby: “We have the opportunity to play in front of those great fans every night, so I think we feel pretty fortunate. We definitely appreciate the fans who show up there each and every night. I think that’s something we’re proud of, but a lot of fans should be proud of it, too, and the fact they’ve been able to do that for this many games, especially. Also, they are a big reason why we’re going to be here a long, long time with the new arena. You don’t want to say you take it for granted, but you just get used to that support. For us, we realize how fun it is to have it that way. There is definitely that sense of having a boost, especially when you need it if you’re down a goal or if you’re in a big game. When you’re in that atmosphere and environment, I think that motivates everyone.”
Sergei Gonchar: “There is a special feeling playing at home because we have a great group of fans. They are supporting us and cheering for us and following us on the road. It’s special to play at home. I want to say thank you to all our fans.”
Jordan Staal: “It’s always nice to play in front of a sold-out crowd. It’s definitely a boost for every player. Everyone enjoys playing in front of fans and that’s what we’re playing the game for and the only reason why we’re here. This city is such a great hockey town. It seems like everyone is behind us 110 percent. There’s no better feeling as a player when you have that fan base and support. We just hope we can bring the Stanley Cup here for them.”
Kris Letang: “The fans are packing the building and it’s very exciting for everyone in our dressing room. We appreciate that a lot. We’re very lucky to play for the Penguins. It’s exciting, too, because we know we have a young and good team. In the future, we’ll have more experience and become a better team. It’s pretty exciting with the new building coming, too.
Brooks Orpik: “Especially playing such a long season, there are games where maybe your tank isn’t completely full, in terms of energy. The adrenaline the crowd gives you at home definitely gets you up to the energy level you need to have. The crowd has always played a big part. This has always been a fun building to play in; it gets really loud.”
Marc-Andre Fleury: “Since the beginning of the season, we’ve always had good crowds and they cheer us on. It’s always much more fun when you have a big crowd behind you.”
Jarkko Ruutu: “The fans are the greatest thing about this game. They support the whole team and it feels good to have that, especially when they support you personally. The biggest thing is, when the team is playing well, the crowd is in the game, too. It’s not only the goals and the nice assists, but it’s also the body checks and stuff that the crowd seems to enjoy.”
Ryan Whitney: “These fans are unbelievable. Everyone here knows it. This place can get so loud when we get some momentum and get going.”
The entire organization used the game to give back to its loyal fans with the annual Penguins Fan Appreciation Night, presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods.
There were a multitude of prizes, gifts and rewards in store for Penguins fans. Once again, the centerpiece of the evening is The Shirts Off Our Backs promotion – the traditional on-ice ceremony following the game where as many as 27 fans will receive the jersey right off our players’ backs (includes scratches and injured players).
Other featured prizes up for grabs were the Penguins Polaris Ranger and a Honda ARX 1200 Jet Ski – both courtesy of Tom Clark Motorsports.
Throughout the game, the organization gave away a bunch of other prizes, such as electronics, signed Penguins memorabilia and resort packages.
Nobody went home empty-handed, as all fans in attendance got a Penguins T-shirt at the gates, courtesy of Trib Total Media’s “Faceoff” magazine, as well as a copy of the first edition of the magazine.
The night was designed as a celebration of all Penguins fans and the organization wanted to reward them for their incredible support all season long.
Winners of the prizes were selected at random. During the game, those selected winners were awarded their prizes during stoppages in play and shown on the JumboTron.
Wednesday night, Penguins fans capped off a tremendous year with their support. Counting this game, the Penguins have sold out all 41 home games, which is a new franchise record. This year shatters the previous record of 34, which was set during both the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons.
In addition, Penguins fans have extended the regular-season sellout streak to 54 games, counting tonight. That mark is also a club record which shatters the old mark of 30, which was set with the final 28 games of the 1988-89 season and the first two of 1989-90.
“This is another tremendous tribute to our fans, who continue to show their remarkable passion and support for the Penguins,” said team president David Morehouse.
Penguins Fan Appreciation Night presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods was held April 2, 2008. The Penguins beat the Flyers 4-2 to capture the Atlantic Division title. Trib Total Media’s Faceoff Magazine provided all fans in attendance with Penguins t-shirts and the first-ever edition of Faceoff Magazine. Randomly selected fans were awarded prizes throughout the night, including the Penguins Polaris Ranger and a Honda ARX 1200 Jet Ski courtesy of Tom Clark Auto Family. The evening culminated with 26 lucky fans taking home the Shirts Off Our Backs!
Prize winners were selected through a randomly generated computer report, matching random numbers with Mellon Arena seat locations. View a list of all prize winners.