Normally season ticket holders are confined to watching Penguins games from their seats.
But this past weekend, they got a chance to skate on the same sheet of ice their favorite players battle on over the course of a season.
The Penguins hosted five two-hour skating sessions at CONSOL Energy Center (with a sixth session scheduled for Monday evening) to thank the people who have filled the seats to support the team.
Getting to skate on the brand-new ice at the Penguins’ brand-new arena was a memorable experience for everyone. In fact, “surreal” was the word of choice most skaters used when describing their experience.
“It’s awesome,” Brad Dindak said, who’s been a season ticket holder along with his wife for the past five years. “Looking in, you’re watching everyone on the ice for so many years either on TV or in person, and you get a chance to skate where they skate and see what they see – looking up at your seats, you really feel like you’re a part of the team, not just a season ticket holder.”
“It’s a little surreal,” Carol Cochenour said, who’s shared season tickets with her best friend for four years and brought her two children to the skate.
“We love it,” she said of watching games at CONSOL Energy Center. “We absolutely love it. It’s exciting. Mellon still has a soft spot in my heart, but there’s a lot more energy here.”
The attendees – who all brought their own skates – received a PensGear discount, were eligible for raffles and could eat and drink at an open concession stands. Iceburgh and members of the Ice Crew also made appearances throughout the weekend.
The skating sessions have become an annual event for half and full season ticket holders for at least the past six seasons. It’s an event that they have come to cherish – so much, in fact, that some dedicated fans drove over six hours to be in attendance.
George Kreatsoulas and his sister Evie are originally from Pittsburgh, but currently reside in Long Island, N.Y. They’ve had season tickets since Sidney Crosby
’s rookie season in 2005-06 and make the trek to Pennsylvania for the games.
“It’s pretty awesome, I love it,” George said of the skate. “It’s cool to be able to do that. ... The Penguins are always very good to their season ticket holders and they’ve always done great things. This is just one of the best things that they do. I love it.”WATCH: SEASON TICKET HOLDERS OPEN SKATE