Children’s Hospital in Lawrenceville received a visit Monday from a special guest – the Stanley Cup. Officials from the Penguins and the Hockey Hall of Fame brought the trophy to the hospital’s atrium from 5-7 p.m. for patients and staff members to have their picture taken with it.
In case having the Stanley Cup in the room was not enough, Iceburgh tagged along to shake hands, rub heads and even join in on some pictures. The hospital played the Penguins’ highlight video on a projector screen located on the wall.
It was on that same wall that the hospital projected most of the games during the thrilling playoff run so that their patients wouldn’t miss any action after the hospital moved into their new location on Penn Avenue in early May.
Children’s Hospital staff members did not have much time to plan for this event, as they were approached on Friday afternoon about the Penguins making the special appearance, but they were still able to be well prepared in getting the memo to their patients and staff.
“This is a really exciting event for our patients,” Joanna Lewski-Bauder, a Child Life administrator at the hospital, said. “Throughout the year we hold parties and pep rallies for the Penguins.
“We have been waiting for it to come and (today) it came. We let our staff and families know this afternoon it was going to be here. The patients all got ready to come down, as you can see with their t-shirts.”
As has often been the case as the Cup has made its way around the city, those in attendance were impressed with the silver chalice.
Luca Rosato, a six-year old outpatient at the hospital, had his first ever encounter with Lord Stanley.
“It was so good to see, but I think it was bigger than me,” Rosato said wearing the jersey of his favorite player, Evgeni Malkin
An aspiring hockey star himself – he is in his second year playing for the Mite-A Allegheny Badgers – Rosato spoke of how “it would be good to win it some day.”
Another patient whose day was made with the Cup’s appearance was 10-year old Billy Palmer. An energetic young man, Palmer and his mom, Sandi, were first in line when they heard it was going to be available for pictures.
“I was full of anticipation when I heard it was coming,” Palmer said.
Palmer, who said he enjoys watching defenseman Kris Letang
because he appreciates his feistiness, continued that, “this was my first time feeling the Cup and it was awesome because it really felt like platinum.”
Patients weren’t the only ones left speechless by the sight of professional sports’ oldest championship trophy.
“It was absolutely incredible,” staff member and season-ticket holder Kristen Straka said. “I wish I had more time to look at it, go through the names and admire the history of it. Growing up a hockey fan, this was incredible.”
As happy as she was for herself, Straka was even more delighted to see the smiles the Stanley Cup’s appearance put on the faces of the impressionable children who are unfairly forced to suffer through life’s hardships at an all-too-young age.
“Every time the Penguins come we try to make sure our kids get down here ... Just to see the little boy before me get his picture taken with him sitting in the Cup is special to see.”
Finding the right words to express his gratitude for what the Penguins do within the community with events such as this was not the tough part for Dr. George Mazariegos. The problem was stopping such praise.
“It has really been incredible to see the spirit of the patients pick up,” Dr. Mazariegos said. “The Penguins are great with both the patients and the staff. They are very, very kind.
“Every time that they have been here they have been so gracious. It seems very sincere and heartfelt. It makes all the difference to these kids.”