However, less than an hour from game time my attention is not focused solely on the Pens and their push for first place in the east. Instead, with only months remaining on Old Lady Mellon's clock, I have come to the sobering realization that sooner rather than later she'll be gone.
The Civic Arena was a magical place for all, but not because of the building and the nacho smell that wafted through every corner. We as people have the tendency to attach our memories and feelings to buildings and inanimate objects. Believing and hoping that maybe someday things can return to how they once were.
However, at the end of the day, it was magical because of the people.
I'm sure we all have stories of ushers being unimaginably nice, getting to know fans from outside the area, and all of the things that makes being a hockey fan in Pittsburgh so great.
In reflection of the old barn, I thought I'd put together a compilation of things I'll miss most from Mellon.
Many of us had the pleasure of hearing a legend, Vince Lascheid, tickling the ivories. Today is the 3 year anniversary of his passing, and his effect on me has never lessened. I remember my first Penguins' game in 1995 hearing that organ, which inspired me to beg for piano lessons that I would then take for the next 10 years of my life. Of course, at the time I didn't know who it was who was playing, but I will never forget Vince, and all the service he put in for both the Pirates and Penguins.
John Barbero, what more can be said? He, being another legend that graced Lady Mellon, brought a certain style and charisma to public address announcing that no other can match. He defined an era in Pittsburgh with his patented goal calls and his fantastic attitude. He passed on July 26th, 2010 due to an inoperable brain tumor. However, his legacy lives on in each and everyone of us who had the pleasure of attending a game.
COTTON CANDY MAN (KEN GEIDEL)
The "Cotton Candy Man" defined the fan experience in Pittsburgh. The voice that carried "COTTON CANDY HEERE!", "LEMONADEEEE!", and "COKEEE HERE!" gathered one of the largest followings, one even larger than players. Ken's commitment to his work is something we can all appreciate as a blue collar city. Sadly, Ken passed away on May 9th, 2011.
As Lady Mellon falls in May, we must make certain not to forget those who brought us so much joy, happiness, and those that defined our experiences at The Civic Arena. Our memories are as much of them as they are of the games that took place. I leave you with this video.
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LET'S GO PENS!