ShareThis Page

Penguins thank 'fierce' fans at welcome-home parade for Lord Stanley's cup

Megan Guza
| Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 4:54 p.m.
Penguins center Sidney Crosby kisses the Stanley Cup during the the victory parade in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Penguins center Sidney Crosby kisses the Stanley Cup during the the victory parade in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
Goalie Matt Murray (left) and center Nick Bonino wave Wednesday, June 14, 2017, to fans celebrating the Penguins' Stanley Cup win.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Goalie Matt Murray (left) and center Nick Bonino wave Wednesday, June 14, 2017, to fans celebrating the Penguins' Stanley Cup win.
Penguins defenseman Chad Ruhwedel poses for a selfie during the Stanley Cup victory parade in downtown Pittsburgh on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Penguins defenseman Chad Ruhwedel poses for a selfie during the Stanley Cup victory parade in downtown Pittsburgh on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
Penguins center Sidney Crosby kisses the Stanley Cup as fans cheer from a parking garage along Boulevard of the Allies in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Penguins center Sidney Crosby kisses the Stanley Cup as fans cheer from a parking garage along Boulevard of the Allies in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
Fans clamor for photos of their favorite Penguins during the Stanley Cup victory parade on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, in Pittsburgh.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribu
Fans clamor for photos of their favorite Penguins during the Stanley Cup victory parade on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, in Pittsburgh.
Zack Brickner of Hampton, Va., came to the championship celebration dressed as a Stanley Cup on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Zack Brickner of Hampton, Va., came to the championship celebration dressed as a Stanley Cup on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
Dustin Gustafson shows off his 'Penguins' tattoo on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, while waiting for the Stanley Cup victory parade to arrive at Point State Park in Pittsburgh.
Brian Rittmeyer | Tribune-Review
Dustin Gustafson shows off his 'Penguins' tattoo on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, while waiting for the Stanley Cup victory parade to arrive at Point State Park in Pittsburgh.
Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury signs shirts and hats for fans during the Stanley Cup victory parade in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribu
Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury signs shirts and hats for fans during the Stanley Cup victory parade in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
Fans express their excitement at touching the Stanley Cup held by Penguins left winger Chris Kunitz during the parade Wednesday, June 14, 2017, in Pittsburgh.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribu
Fans express their excitement at touching the Stanley Cup held by Penguins left winger Chris Kunitz during the parade Wednesday, June 14, 2017, in Pittsburgh.
Colin McCann, 8, of Cranberry tries to catch confetti on Boulevard of the Allies in Pittsburgh during the victory parade for the Penguins on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
Shane Dunlap
Colin McCann, 8, of Cranberry tries to catch confetti on Boulevard of the Allies in Pittsburgh during the victory parade for the Penguins on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
Captain Sidney Crosby gives fans a closeup of the Stanley Cup during the victory parade on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, in Pittsburgh.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Captain Sidney Crosby gives fans a closeup of the Stanley Cup during the victory parade on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, in Pittsburgh.

Jim Rutherford called it last year.

"We'll try to meet here at this time next year," the Penguins general manager said June 15, 2016, at last year's Stanley Cup victory parade.

The Penguins, led by captain Sidney Crosby, made good on that.

"We worked all year to get to this point," Crosby said on stage at Point State Park, the endpoint of the team's parade through Downtown on a hot, humid day that attracted hundreds of thousands of fans still marveling over the team's fifth championship win Sunday night.

Crosby called the back-to-back Stanley Cup wins a team effort.

"We knew how tough that was going to be," he said.

"What can we say about this group of hockey players here?" head coach Mike Sullivan said. "These guys are fierce competitors."

The fans, he said, are just as fierce.

The magnitude of back-to-back Stanley Cup wins — the first time a team has pulled off such a feat in 19 years — was not lost on the crowd of fans, many of whom arrived early to start the party.

"The feeling right now is kind of surreal," said Josh Ray of Pine.

Penguins home-ice announcer Ryan Mill introduced each player, including Nick Bonino, still using crutches but expertly managing to keep hold of his beer regardless.

Crosby, the only player to speak on stage, said the Stanley Cup belongs to the fans just as much as it belongs to the team.

"That Game 5 was something I think we'll all remember," he said. "It's great to be able to share this with all of you."

And fans were happy to share in the celebration as well.

"It feels real good winning back-to-back cups," said Connor Wagner of the North Side. "I think we're spoiled here in Pittsburgh with all the good sports teams and getting to championships this often — a lot of cities don't. So I think we're spoiled and sometimes it doesn't set in."

Nine-year-old Riley Keller traveled from Cuba, N.Y., with her parents to show off her outfit: a homemade Stanley Cup costume, complete with a metal mixing bowl to top it all off.

She led both of her youth hockey teams — one an all-girls team and the other of mostly boys — in not just scoring, but penalty minutes as well.

Charles Jetter of Oil City made sure he'd have one of the best views. Sitting comfortably in his convertible — top down in the sunshine — he was just feet away from the parade route on Boulevard of the Allies. He had claimed the spot the night before.

"I just floated in after all the Pirates folks were gone … I slept right here," he said.

He likened the parade to a holiday.

"This is the real way to finish: Not with a Game 7 or Game 6, but with a victory parade and the whole city," Jetter said.

The dedication of fans like Jetter wasn't lost on coach Sullivan.

"Everybody talked about Nashville (fans) through those finals, but they've got nothing on Pittsburgh," he said.

Then he set the date for next year.

"I wonder if (we) can repeat," he said. "Or three-peat, should I say?"

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Matthew Santoni and Brian Rittmeyer contributed to this report.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.