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Season-ticket holders enjoy special screening

by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins played the first-ever game in franchise history on Oct. 11, 1967 against the Montreal Canadiens.

And Ron Steedle was there. 

"I still remember that first game," said Steedle, who was 13 years old at the time. "Andy Bathgate scored in the third period. Jean Beliveau winning the game for the Canadiens."

Steedle, 62, has been a Penguins' season-ticket holder for over 40 years and has many memories from the franchise's existence, from multiple bankruptcies to Stanley Cup championships to Mario Lemieux's heroics saving the franchise.

"They've had both tragedies and great blessings," said Steedle, an Etna native and Shaler hockey coach. "I remember in 1975 up three games to the Islanders. Penguins became the first team to lose up 3-0 and two weeks later there is a padlock on the arena.

"We were just waiting for someone like Mario to come along and save the franchise umpteen times."

Steedle got to relieve many of those incredible memories at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday night.

With the Pens celebrating their 50th season in the National Hockey League, the organization treated their season-ticket holders with a special viewing of the team's historical documentary - Pittsburgh is Home: The Story of the Penguins.

"When I watch it back on video I can remember where I was, the things I was doing," Steedle said. "I remember the smell of going to a hockey game. The crowd noises."

Ricky Davis of New Castle also recalled key moments in the franchise's history.

"Seeing Max (Talbot) with the 'shhh' in Philly was fun to go back through," Davis said. "It was fun to relive some of those memories. Those things stick out to you, those big playoff games."

The documentary tells the amazing tale of the Pens from their inception and inaugural season in 1967-68 to their fourth Stanley Cup title last season, and features Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby, Jaromir Jagr, Evgeni Malkin, Scotty Bowman, Paul Coffey, Ron Burkle and more.

For a younger fan like Davis, it gave him a glimpse into the team's history.

"I knew there was a turbulent time for the Penguins before Mario came along, but I didn't realize how dire some of those situations where," Davis said. "We are really lucky to still have the Penguins here. There was a lot to learn."

The documentary will air on ROOT Sports on Friday, Nov. 25 immediately following the Pens' 4 p.m. contest against Minnesota. On Monday, Nov. 28 the film will be available online.

Fans can see the 2-hour, 45-minute film, which was narrated by Pittsburgh-native and actor Joe Manganiello, at the SouthSide Works Cinema from Nov. 18-22 with four showings each day (12 p.m., 3:20 p.m., 6:40 p.m., 10 p.m.) at $5 admission - proceeds of which will benefit the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation.

The film was produced by LA-based freelancer Jeff Cvitkovic and Pens staffers Jon Otte and Andrew McIntyre with the help of executive producers Leo McCafferty, Tom McMillan, James Santilli and Rod Murray.

"It was really cool to go back through history," Davis said. "It was cool to see the encapsulation of the whole era of the Penguins."

 

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