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Prospects Enjoy Fun, Team Building Opportunities

by Joe Sager / Pittsburgh Penguins
The players at the Penguins’ rookie conditioning camp were rewarded for their hard work Wednesday night.

The team headed to Dave & Busters at The Waterfront for some food and fun. After enjoying a buffet dinner and some video games, the players took part in the restaurant’s scavenger hunt called the “Ultimate Quest.” 

The prospects were divided into four teams. The groups were given clues and had to search through the restaurant’s arcade to find the answers within 30 minutes. Points were awarded to the top three squads and count toward the teams’ points challenge throughout camp.

“It was fun to play games with all these guys and get to know each other,” Kris Letang said. “It was nice to get out there.”

Tyler Kennedy

The challenge sent the players scrambling frantically all over Dave & Busters in search of answers. 

“We looked like little kids running around,” Tyler Kennedy said with a laugh.

Chad Johnson agreed. 

“It was exciting – a little hectic around with everyone running around trying to win. Everyone was laughing. There were certain times you had to run around and find a certain game and there were times other guys had to play games, too, to try and find out what the question was,” he said. “It was a good time. It was a fun bonding time.”

While the players were busy scampering throughout the arcade, they had a few chances to give their opponents a hard time. 

“We’re very competitive and we talk a bit of Ragu once in a while,” said Paul Bissonnette with a smile. 

Paul Bissonnette

The challenge was difficult, especially when one of the objectives called for the retrieval of candy from a certain machine. 

“The second clue – they wanted us to get candy from one of the crane games,” Brian Strait said. “I guess they removed that machine, so we spent about 15 minutes looking for it. Finally, we went back and they said we could just get any kind of candy.”

Bissonnette, who was determined throughout the night, led his squad to the win. He ran a tight ship, too. As rookie Keven Veilleux, who celebrated his 18th birthday Wednesday night, wandered away to shoot some baskets at a basketball game, Bissonnette was quick to swoop in and grab Veilleux as the group headed back to dining area get its next clue. 

“He’s one of the beauties. He was running around making sure we were going to win,” Ryan Stone said. “That’s what you need – guys like that in the room to keep things light and make sure everyone’s on track.

Chad Johnson

“It was a good time. Luckily our team won and we got some big points for the boys,” he continued. “This is a great group of guys. It’s good to get away from the rink and the gym. It was fun.” 

Kennedy echoed Stone’s thoughts, but was not satisfied with his team’s finish.

“It’s always fun to go out to an arcade and play some games,” he said. “I was on the last-place team. I think the other teams cheated. I think it’s all rigged.” 

Regardless of the teams’ outcomes, the main goal of bringing everyone together was achieved on the night.

“It was a lot of fun. It was a good team-building activity,” Strait said. “That’s one of the best parts. Everyone’s nervous coming into camp, but they do a good job of keeping the atmosphere a little relaxed and making sure everyone has fun. 

Brian Strait

“After we went to Dave & Busters, you get to know everybody a little better,” he continued. “I think a lot more guys are talking now to other people they weren’t talking to at the beginning of the week.”

“The more you spend time around the guys, the friendlier you are,” Johnson added. “The first couple days, everyone’s a little shy and not really sure about other players or what their personalities are like. So, the more you’re with them, the more comfortable you are around the guys and everyone is a little more friendly to each other.” 

The team activities help keep the environment loose, too.

“If we came here and just did all the physical training and that, it’d just be your basic week,” Bissonnette said. “Doing this stuff adds some spice to it as well as fun.”

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