If you saw the lines outside of PPG Paints Arena yesterday, you would believe that there was a hockey game about to take place. This was the pre-party.To the best fans in hockey -— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 9, 2016
Thank you for joining us at today's Fan Fest. Let's Go Pens! pic.twitter.com/7wdEnivEQk
Beginning bright and early, fans were treated to the ultimate interactive experience at Penguins Fan Fest 2016, a kick off to the 50th Anniversary season. From 10am-2pm (in Session 1) and again from 3pm-7pm (in Session 2). Fans excitedly roamed the arena floor playing in different hockey-related skill games, cashing in on their scratch-off ticket prizes (which included autograph sessions, locker room tours, merchandise and free food), watching live interviews and "game shows" on the main stage, or waiting for the moment when the legend, Phil Kessel, would arrive.
Kris Letang was even surprised when he got asked to a girls homecoming dance during the Kids Q&A that morning, but unfortunately had to decline as the Pens are on the road that weekend.
In the Lexus Club, the "Keeper of the Cup", Phillip Pritchard, regaled groups with stories of the travels of the Stanley Cup along with some interesting facts and tidbits.
"Players used to smuggle liquor in the Cup from Montana back up to Edmonton. That's why we have a bottom on the Cup now" -PritchardDuring the "State of the Team" address (which took place in both sessions), Head Coach Mike Sullivan and GM Jim Rutherford talked about how they plan to carry over the success from last season and Rutherford even admitted that, just before he was offered the General Manager position in Pittsburgh, he contemplated going into retirement.
"I was at a point in my career where I was thinking about not working anymore. Then this opportunity came up and I told my wife, 'We're going to Pittsburgh'".When he was asked about his wife's reaction, Rutherford said that his wife had asked him why he wanted to take this job.
"...because I want to win again", he said with a smile.It was truly an exciting day at PPG Paints arena. I got in on the fun myself and learned that I should stick to writing about hockey instead of playing it (though I will admit, impressing Schultz by being able to accurately hit targets while in heeled boots was extremely gratifying). Check out some of the pictures from the event as the Penguins are set to begin the season in just a few days.
|Cooking Class with Dumoulin, Maatta, and Cole (photo credit: Penguins Twitter)|
|NHL trophies on display|
|Check out this Stanley Cup replica. Would you be able to tell the difference?|