Obviously, we are all fans of hockey. You wouldn’t be reading this right now if you didn’t love the game in some shape or form. You might wear your jersey, go to games, cheer for your team, and feel devoted to them, but you can’t top some of the people I found in Pittsburgh who have Penguin hockey in their blood.
In the past, fans have gotten engaged at games and I remember several years ago, a couple got married at center ice at the old Civic Arena (now Mellon Arena). I put out a call for interesting engagement or wedding stories relating to the team and I hit the jackpot! People were nice enough to share their stories with me and I want to share them with everyone else because they are truly fun.
One couple met on a chat board, talked for awhile, met and are now happily married, all thanks to Penguins hockey. A groom told me that he and his wife got married on April 26, 1997, the date of Mario Lemieux’s “first” last game (before he unretired). At the reception, the groom wore his Pens jersey with the kilt he wore at the wedding.
A few couples reported that they entered their receptions to the music played at the arena as the Pens take the ice and several brides wore Penguin garters, sold at the arena store.
I even got a honeymoon story! The bride and groom jetted off to Hawaii after the wedding, while the Pens were playing games one and two against the Flyers during playoff season. He says, “I spent a few hours in the hotel room both of those days watching the action on my laptop via extraordinary measures involving proxy servers, hidden IPs, Peer-to-Peer networks, firewalls, you name it – it was all worth it. After game two ended, I walked out to the beach area and was talking to my dad about the game on my cell phone. After I hung up, the guy sitting next to me told me that he was from Pittsburgh and he had just spent the past day trying to figure out how to get the game. He was forced to rely on phone calls and text messages from home to keep him updated. I guess he met me a few hours too late!”
Some of the couples started off with the Penguin theme even before the wedding. Roy and Betty Bartley got engaged when Roy proposed at a game between the Penguins and the Florida Panthers, on January 5, 2008. “The Pens won, 3-0, which made the day even better,” Roy said. As wedding plans began, the first order of business was the Save the Date card, reminding everyone that an invitation would follow.
On October 25, their wedding day arrived. Betty had a special groom’s cake made for Roy, featuring his favorite Penguin player.
“The acolytes at the wedding (two little boys who lit the altar candles) passed out bubbles from silver Penguin buckets outside the church after the wedding,” Betty said. The best man, Jim Kolodziej, gave Roy a blue Penguin hat during his special toast.
Heather and Doug Derda wanted a full hockey wedding, but it just didn’t happen for various reasons. “But we had Penguin “elements”, Doug said. “On my vest, I had my season ticket pins from the Pens, my wife wore a Penguin garter and available at the head table was top shelf tequila. Guests could do a shot of tequila out of a miniature Stanley Cup.
The Derdas are expecting their first child and Doug says the baby’s room will be decorated with Snoopy items and “whatever Penguins swag for babies I can find!”
There are many more stories, they just get better and more elaborate, so tune in soon for Penguin-themed Weddings, Part II.
In the meantime, some of you may remember that last year during the playoffs, we reported on a little girl who was born in Pittsburgh named Crosby Elizabeth. She was born on May 2, 2008. Her mom and dad, Jenn and Shawn Morrill, wanted another “C” name because they already had a son named Connor. Shawn was lobbying for Sidney, boy or girl. Jenn wasn’t feeling it for either a boy or a girl, so she jokingly suggested “Crosby”. It stuck, the littlest Pens fan was born during the playoffs, and as you can see, she is now about eight months old and still a big Penguin fan!
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