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Pens to Wear Special Gaelic Warmup Jerseys on Saturday

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
Mighty in battle.


That’s what Evgeni Malkin’s last name means when translated into the traditional Irish Gaelic language.  

Pretty awesome, right?

What’s even cooler is that Malkin and the rest of his Penguins teammates will have their names written in Gaelic calligraphy on the backs of the special green St. Patrick’s Day jerseys they will wear during warmups prior to Saturday’s game vs. Boston at CONSOL Energy Center.

The green warmup jerseys with the Gaelic last names will be autographed by the players and available for auction, which will begin on March 16 and end on March 30 at 7 p.m., with proceeds benefitting the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and Mario Lemieux Foundation.

The inspiration for these unique jerseys came when head equipment manager Dana Heinze and John Young of Pro Knitwear, the company that manufactures the team’s jerseys, put their heads together thinking of ways to top the sweaters they did at this time last year, which had specially detailed orange numbers and letters.

“John is an Irishman, so when it comes time to do the St. Patrick’s Day jerseys, he gets excited,” Heinze said. “He has brought a lot to the table. When we thought the ones last year were really cool, we had to figure out how we were going to outdo ourselves. That’s when the thought of doing the players’ names in Gaelic came about. When you see their names sometimes it doesn’t translate out exactly. Crosby is Crosbaigh. It’s interesting to see.

“It is so cool to see what everyone’s first and last names are. We were a little concerned to see how the names translated out, but I think they came out awesome. I think it’s going to be a bit of a shock when you see these players and you see Spaling or Crosby or Malkin or Hornqvist and their names are a little different, but we’re just trying to be different. It’s St. Patrick’s Day, celebrating that, so why not go with the Gaelic names.”

Young sent the team roster over to John Webber, a semi-retired professor at Carnegie Mellon University who has been studying names, their origins and meanings for the last 32 years and specializes in Ireland and the Celtic nation. Webber scripted the names in Gaelic calligraphy and translated the meaning of each player’s first and last name.

Webber has written over 400,000 names in 21 different languages over his long, distinguished career, but this marks the first time he’s worked with a professional sports team – and he thoroughly enjoyed the process.

“The diversity of names concentrated in this one particular area – it’s really something,” he said. “Right away I knew most of them, but I did have to refer to some of them.

“Hornqvist (was the most difficult), because it means land that’s out there in the water that has a horn shape. So it translates to ‘dwells on a horn-curved tract of land.’ It’s also called a ross. People named Ross, their name means the same thing.”

The winner of each jersey will also receive a card with the player’s name written in Gaelic in calligraphy and the meaning of his first and last name. Please visit penguins.nhl.com or pittsburghpenguinsfoundation.org for more information.

Here's what Sidney Crosby's nameplate looks like...


And Evgeni Malkin's...

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