PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Penguins raised their Stanley Cup banner to the rafters before their opener against the New York Rangers on Friday night.
With the Stanley Cup on a table on the ice and the Prince of Wales, Art Ross and Conn Smythe trophies also on display in front of the 119th consecutive sellout at Mellon Arena, the Penguins’ players surrounded a trunk containing the banner that represents the franchise’s third championship.
Then, they watched as it was raised to a spot just inside the blue line in the end the Penguins shoot at first, about two-thirds of the way to the top of the inside of the steel, retractable dome over the facility.
Players, coaches and members of the front office – including co-owner and former Hall of Fame player Mario Lemieux – were introduced in a ceremony that delayed the start of the game by about 20 minutes.
Despite steady rain, hundreds of fans gathered outside the arena to watch the game on a big screen, as many fans did throughout the playoffs last spring.
The home opener is the final one at Mellon Arena, the league’s oldest venue, having opened in 1961 and been the Penguins’ home since the team’s inception six years later. Next season, the Penguins will move to the Consol Energy Center, which is under construction across the street.