It may have seemed like an Occupy Wall Street-type of movement was happening along Fifth Avenue today, but it was actually something much bigger – the first American Eagle Student Rush of the Penguins season.
The Penguins made available over 500 discounted tickets to local high school and college students with valid ID in their first expanded Student Rush of the year, one of the five times this year they'll distrube that many tickets. Normally the Student Rush program offers 200 discounted tickets to students.
“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate them doing this for the students,” proclaimed Duquesne University sophomore Mike Dovidio. “This is awesome. Nobody in college now gets the experience we get.”
It wasn’t just the chance to see the Penguins for a discounted price that had the fans excited.
First, Penguins GM Ray Shero and head coach Dan Bylsma made a surprise visit to the students that started lining up at 9:30 a.m. in the cold, rainy weather before tickets went on sale at 6 p.m. – delivering hot chocolate to those brave souls.
But the best part? Penguins players Jordan Staal
, Pascal Dupuis
, James Neal
, Deryk Engelland
joined Bylsma in delivering pizza to the waiting masses before they hit the ice for their game against the Montreal Canadiens.
"They were there all day in the cold ... they're all standing out there to get tickets to the game," Dupuis said. "Giving them hot chocolate this afternoon and pizza today was a good gesture from the Penguins. I was pretty happy to do it.
"It gets kind of crazy, but you run through and you give the pizza, then you head back and warm up for your game."
Dupuis provided a nice gesture of his own. While he was handing out pizza, Dovidio slowed him down enough to tell him it was his 20th birthday. Being the team player he is, Dupuis grabbed a pizza box and signed it for the Wilkes-Barre native.
Growing up in the home of the WBS Penguins, Dovidio has always loved Penguins hockey. And in line with a few friends, he explained today will be one of the best birthdays he'll ever have.
“I called him over and told him it was my birthday and he was happy enough to give me a signature. Then coach Byslma came out and gave us all pieces of pizza.”
With their bellies full thanks to the Penguins players and head coach, nearly 600 students got seats to Thursday night’s game, the 214th-straight sellout.
Other games for expanded American Eagle Outfitters Student Rush are Tuesday, Nov. 15 vs. Colorado, Wednesday, Feb. 15 vs. Anaheim, Friday, March 9 vs. Florida and Tuesday, March 27 vs. the New York Islanders.