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Justin Schultz 'chug walk' photographer 'thought it was awesome'

Aaron Aupperlee
| Friday, June 16, 2017, 1:36 p.m.
Olli Määttä (left) and Justin Schultz wave to the crowd on the Boulevard of the Allies during the parade celebrating the Penguins Stanley Cup win, Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Olli Määttä (left) and Justin Schultz wave to the crowd on the Boulevard of the Allies during the parade celebrating the Penguins Stanley Cup win, Wednesday, June 14, 2017

She's not a professional photographer.

A yoga teacher, actually.

But Melinda Wedde's photo of Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz walking and drinking a beer during Wednesday's Stanley Cup parade may be the most memorable shot from that day.

The "Chug Walk" photo has taken on a life of its own.

"That was just a lucky, candid thing," Wedde said Friday. "It's completely unedited. I took it. I quickly looked at it, thought it was awesome, and that's it."

From there, Twitter took over.

Wedde, 32, of McCandless said that when she checked her phone, an iPhone 7 plus, about 45 minutes later, she had more Twitter notifications than she's ever seen in her life.

The tweet — "Photo of the century #PensParade" from Wedde's account @melwedde — has been liked more than 3,500 times and retweeted nearly 1,000 times.

And then there are the Photoshop jobs . The internet, as it is wont to do, jumped on the photo, cut out the mid-stride, mid-chug Schultz and pasted him every where. He's on the moon, at Jesus' last supper, crossing a log with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa in the Lion King and dancing in library with the crew from The Breakfast Club.

"I think that one is hilarious," Wedde said.

Wedde and her family are huge Penguins fans. She and her husband went to one or two games during each playoff series. They were there for Game 7 against the Ottawa Senators, staying through both overtimes. They were there for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.

On Wednesday, Wedde, her two kids and two of her friends went to the parade and posted up at the corner of Boulevard of the Allies and Wood Street. Several players stopped there and got off their trucks to mingle with the crowd. While Olli Maatta, who had quite the day himself , was taking selfies with fans near Wedde, she and her friends spotted Schultz in the middle of the street.

" 'Oh my gosh. Look at him,' " she recalled them saying. "We just got our phones out and just took a bunch in a row."

Wedde said it's unreal to now be part of the Penguins' celebration. The team knows about the photo and has apparently talked about it in a group text. And a local T-shirt company is getting in on the fun.

Pittsburgh Clothing Co. has made a shirt out of the photo that reads "Walking on Sunshine." The company offered to pay Wedde for the rights to the photo. Wedde declined, gave them permission for free and asked that the company donate whatever money they were going to give her to the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at aaupperlee@tribweb.com, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

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