Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Parade 2016
June 15th, 2016
“It’s a Great Day For Hockey!” - Badger Bob Johnson
It sure was! It was midnight, and I had barely slept a wink before I was on my way traveling from Southern Ontario to downtown Pittsburgh, PA to celebrate the Pittsburgh Penguins 2016 Stanley Cup win.
With my best friend Jess by my side, we set out into the night to join around 400,000 fans in congratulating the Pittsburgh Penguins on their win! Being girls, we get a lot of crap for being Penguins fans when people ask who our favourite team is. We’ve always liked Pittsburgh. Yes we know more than just who Sidney Crosby is. We just love hockey. We wouldn’t go to sports bars in our hometown and watch 7 NHL games simultaneously if we didn’t.
The drive was only supposed to take us around 4 hours, but we like to visit the Pennsylvania Welcome Centre for their horrible coffee and browse the 24-hour Wal-Mart in Erie, PA. We also ate at an Eat’n Park at 2:30am and I scarfed back eggs, bacon and a smiley pancake. I still don’t understand that restaurant’s name, I always feel like it should be Park N Eat. Anyway, onward we went.
We arrived in Pittsburgh around 7:30am and were lucky to have avoided traffic because if anyone reading this has ever driven in Pittsburgh you will understand the struggle of trying to navigate the city. It is absolutely insane and stress inducing. One ways, sudden ramp closures, everything seems to be in a triangle and a million bridges to drive over. We decided to park in a lot for $7 USD for the day near Rivers Casino on the North Shore to avoid downtown all together thinking it would be packed.
We then got on the Red Line subway at the North Side Station about a block away from our car, which is free within a specific radius and took it to the Steele Plaza Station stop. When we exited it was around 8am and Grant Street was starting to fill in. I heard there were people waiting since 11pm on the Boulevard of the Allies because that is where the parade ends and some players will sign things for fans and then do their speeches.
We just wanted to see what we could and we were lucky to get front row of a barricaded area of the street. By 8:30am it was really starting to get packed so we were thankful we got there when we did. It had just finished raining and was now quite hot and humid out. I made sure to tear my poncho off before the parade started ;)
We were near the beginning of the parade and it started around 11am. The parade kicked off with real live penguins on a float, followed by the Pittsburgh Penguins mascot Iceburgh walking behind it. These pictures were taken without any zoom on the camera, as we were really that close to the parade! Some of them are from Jess’ phone and others are screen caps from videos I took.
#3 Olli Maatta
#72 Patric Hornqvist
In a black convertible was Mike Lange, legendary Pens broadcaster, who Jess and I were lucky enough to meet after a game once in Buffalo earlier in the year and he was really nice.
#19 Beau Bennett
#17 Bryan Rust and #30 Matt Murray
#6 Ben Lovejoy
We were beyond excited when we saw Mario Lemieux coming down the street. I like to pretend he’s giving the thumbs up to me in this photo.
A lot of players had their wives/girlfriends/family with them in the trucks, which was cool. #29 Marc-Andre Fleury and #9 Pascal Dupuis were in the same truck together. It was exciting to see Duper and I’m glad he was able to be a part of as it’s unfortunate he can’t play any longer due to health reasons.
#81 Phil Kessel and #62 Carl Hagelin
A glimpse of #14 Chris Kunitz and #13 Nick Bonino as well as the announcer from Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi who said the infamous “Bonino! Bonino! Bonino!” line.
#16 Eric Fehr and #37 Jeff Zatkoff
#58 Kris Letang
#71 Evgeni Malkin aka Geno
The moment we had been waiting for! #87 Sidney Crosby…and the cup of course.
There happened to be a stoppage in the parade when Crosby was in front of us, which was great to take photos.
I like to think he's looking right at me in the first picture. One can dream can't they?
The whole parade only took about 30 minutes to fully pass our part of the route and then people dispersed out of the area. We walked the short 15 minute walk to the Consol Energy Arena to take pictures outside and look in the merchandise store, as it was open that day.
We really made use of their free subway system and took it again to Station Square and getting on a bus $3.50 USD to take us to the South Side of Pittsburgh. East Carson Street has tons of restaurants/bars and clubs to go to and we had never seen it during the day before. To be honest it wasn’t that glamorous in the daytime than we’ve experienced it at night, but we really wanted to eat at LOCAL Bar + Kitchen. I ordered the deep fried chicken burger with garden salad, which I definitely did not need but thoroughly enjoyed.
We then begrudgingly prepared to leave the city around 5:30pm, which was still a cluster of ridiculous traffic, but we did it. We spent the drive home reminiscing about everything we did and saw in such a short time span to the soundtrack of old Pittsburgh Road Trip CD’s we’ve created over time. We arrived home around 11pm and then I threw myself into bed to get up early for work the next morning.
Here is a video I took of a portion of the parade with Letang, Geno and Crosby. Shakey AF because I wasn’t really looking at the screen when I was filming I just had the camera out. Note: Not all the background screaming is from me I swear.
Let’s Go Pens!