Unforgettable Winter Classic

Unforgettable. The best description I heard from a friend who sat in the rain, and cheered for Sidney, the Pens, and Pittsburgh. It was a night for all those to shine, albeit through a water-spotted lens. What surprised me was how many Caps fans traveled several hours to be part of “unforgettable.”  The estimate-30 thousand, just under half of a crowd over 68 thousand.

While it was a thrill to stand at center ice during the Media Skate on Thursday, and great to be in the press box during the game, I wished I had been sitting outside, so I could hear the cheers, feel the crowd, and see Terrible Towels waving–stamped with that Winter Classic logo.

Hockey is a great game. Was this a great game? Not for the Pens, certainly, and it was let-down for Pens fans, who don’t just root for the Pens, but almost adore them.  Mario, the organization, its coach, Dan Bylsma, team architect, GM Ray Shero, its stars–Crosby,  Malkin, and Fleury–and faces like Talbot, Orpik and Staal. But to hear all the players, including Ovechkin and Fehr ,

talk about the thrill of coming through the tunnel and onto the ice–the experience of playing in a venue crammed full with tens of thousands– mitigated the disappointment a bit.

I didn’t see the Alumni game, but John Meyer’s description of the crowds thunderous welcome to Mario, who had helped make all this happen, gave me chills. Watching him walk onto center ice, accompanied by Hall of Famer Franco Harris, and future Hall of Famer, Jerome Bettis, was a visual example of how lucky fans were to have a marriage of such storied franchises. A huge thanks to the Rooneys’, who made sure their last two season games were on the road. To Pens CEO, David Morehouse, for his vision. USAToday called him the best marketing team president in sports.

But most of all, thanks to the fans. They make this city the sports model all others envy. It may seem trite, but it is the reason I moved here. And we know have a month of Steeler playoffs to celebrate in Heinz Field. Are we lucky ,or what?

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2 Responses

  1. Great look at what a huge event this was although the outcome could have been better for the Pens. I am living in California now and just being able to see the game was special. Seeing the terrible towels waving. I know the atmosphere in Pittsburgh had to be catching. I miss our town and all the great people there. Pittsburgh is a special place and a great sports town. Thanks Sally!

    • Thanks so much, Julia. It got monster ratings, and they think they will move the next one to primetime, because of it. I just so wish the guys could have won, for their sake.

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