Pens honor military veterans
By Josh Yohe
Published: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 6:33 p.m.
Sidney Crosby, Brooks Orpik and Craig Adams might have been a bit late for Penguins team meetings following Wednesday's morning skate.
They'll be forgiven.
Crosby, Orpik and Adams were engrossed in conversations with ALS veterans Robert Beiswenger and Michael Testa, two of the 11 veterans the Penguins hosted at Consol Energy Center.
“This is great that we do it,” Orpik said. “There are a couple of us that do it throughout the year. This one obviously gets the most media attention, but there are guys in our locker room that bring servicemen and (service)women in on a game-by-game basis. I think there is a lot of admiration and respect for those guys throughout the year.”
The Penguins invited 11 decorated veterans to the morning skate, a meet-and-greet in the locker room, lunch in Suite 66 and their game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Veterans included members of the Wounded Warrior Project and ALS and “Hockey Saves” veterans.
“Just an absolute pleasure to have them here,” defenseman Matt Niskanen said.
Hosting veterans on or around Veterans Day has become tradition for the Penguins, who wore camouflage uniforms during their morning skate and pregame warm-up. The uniforms will be autographed and auctioned at NHL.com.
Proceeds will go to the Wounded Warrior Project, Austin's Military Playroom at the new Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton and the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation.
“It's really nice getting to know these guys a little bit and hearing about the sacrifices that they have made,” center Joe Vitale said. “It's pretty incredible.”
The veterans also enjoyed their time.
“What an amazing thing they did for us,” Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Brian Baum said. “I can't think of anything better than meeting these guys and getting to see them play up close.”
Niskanen said the veterans are “the very definition of what it is to be a hero.”
Army Staff Sgt. John Isenberg is a member of the Hockey Saves program, which is a bridge between American troops and the sport many of them love.
He is delighted the Penguins have made such a fuss over veterans.
“I owe me being here to the Hockey Saves program,” he said. “And the more I'm around hockey, the more I realize what wonderful dudes there are in this game.”
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, who will coach the U.S. hockey team in the 2014 Winter Olympics, delayed his daily news conference so he could meet the veterans.
“The true lesson is from them and their sacrifice,” Bylsma said. “What they've given is something we can't match. We certainly appreciate that from them, and hopefully we showed them today.”
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Talented center Sutter is proving to be ‘pretty important’ for Penguins
- Penguins notebook: Beau Bennett returns to practice
- Analysis: Kesler still on Pens’ radar as Shero aims to bring back ‘Big 3’
- Penguins GM Shero’s deadline deals: Addition by subtraction
- Penguins minor league report: Defenseman Dumoulin optimistic for home stretch
- Penguins notebook: Fleury feeling sharp entering tough stretch
- Penguins stave off Ducks’ shooting barrage to win in shootout
- Penguins fail to land star center Kesler at NHL trade deadline
- Sharks praise ex-teammate, newest Penguins player Goc
- Trade to Penguins caps frenetic period for winger Stempniak
- Penguins notebook: Maatta leaves lasting impression with Selanne