Penguins Fans Pay Price to Watch History

By Gorman, Kevin | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 13, 2009 | Go to article overview
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Penguins Fans Pay Price to Watch History


Gorman, Kevin, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


DETROIT - They paid the asking price to be part of history, traveling from Pittsburgh to watch the Penguins play the Detroit Red Wings Friday in the game that would decide the Stanley Cup championship.

For one Penguins fan, it was a matter of two words.

"Bucket list," said Brian Pietrandrea, 34, of Brighton Heights, referring to his compilation of things to do before he dies. "How many opportunities are you going to get to see this? I don't think there's a dollar amount somebody could offer me - outside six figures - to get me to sell this."

Pietrandrea and friend Shawn O'Brien, a season-ticket holder from McCandless, were among the throngs of Penguins fans that flocked to the Motor City for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at Joe Louis Arena. They paid $310 each for tickets, and brought homemade signs, including one that read, "You Guessed Wrong, Hossa" - a reference to winger Marian Hossa, who left the Penguins for the Red Wings via free agency last year because he claimed they gave him "the best chance to win the Cup."

Outside the arena, Michele Papakie painted black and gold the face of her 19-year-old son, Derek, after they drove here from Brush Valley, outside Indiana. Holding a homemade "Who Needs Hossa?" sign, Derek reveled in the festive atmosphere along the Detroit River walkway.

They bought tickets for $630 apiece, which left only enough money for Derek to purchase a Sidney Crosby replica sweater. Michele was stuck wearing an old-school Mario Lemieux jersey from the mid- 1990s.

"It's 100 percent worth it," Derek Papakie said. "I love it. I've been to a few of the games outside Mellon Arena on the big screen. I loved the atmosphere in Pittsburgh.

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