The Penguins and PPG Paints are working together on a series of stories to feature the most colorful fans in the game.
When it comes to being an NHL fan in a different time zone, it can be difficult to watch your favorite team. So Australian natives Jim Grant and Rebecca McKenzie recently traveled 30 hours to Pittsburgh to watch the Penguins in person for three home games last month.
The pair visited local restaurants and bars to watch the wins over the Ottawa Senators and Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 13 and 15 before attending the Penguins' victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in person on Feb. 17, as they wanted to feel the atmosphere during games in both the city and PPG Paints Arena.
"We've been here all week. We loved it, this is our first time here in Pittsburgh," McKenzie said. "There were three games on this week and we thought to make the most of it while we're here."
The pair had a serendipitous moment when it came to actually becoming Penguins fans. While all of their friends in Australia had an NHL team they gravitated towards, Grant and McKenzie had yet to delve into the sport.
"About 10 years ago we had a quite a few friends that follow ice hockey back home, we were watching the Stanley Cup Final and I had to pick up a team," Grant said. "I randomly asked, 'is there a team with penguins?' They told me yeah, and they have the best player in the league. So I thought cool, I'm going to follow the Penguins."
Through the ups and downs of the last decade the Penguins have always had support from the land down under. Undoubtedly it's a great time to be a Penguins fan, and even with the time difference between Australia being over 12 hours, Grant and McKenzie have kept up with their team as much possible.
"We've been following for about 10 years now," Grant said. "We have an NHLTV subscription, so we try to watch as many games as we can. So far we've seen two wins, hopefully a third, in person."
Grant and McKenzie weren't disappointed on their last evening in Pittsburgh, as the Penguins won their third game of the week against the Maple Leafs. While the rest of their trip wasn't as hockey-centric as their stop in Pittsburgh, their time here was definitely a few great days for hockey.