You may change your city but you never change your team.
That’s a motto we tend to live by in the Changuris household. So when you move to a town (a town that happens to be the home of your most hated hockey rival) what else would you do but dress in red and stand out in the sea of black and gold?
The Pittsburgh Penguins hosted the Washington Capitals March 11th and we were there, shouting our hearts out. I have to start with a big thank you to Mother Nature for the warm weather since we decided to walk the 1.2 mile trip through town to the Consol Energy Center. The Center is also only three blocks west of the Steel Plaza station on the city’s subway line (yes, I know, Pittsburgh has a subway! It’s a topic we’ll visit in a later post). The walk was pretty direct and getting in the door of the arena didn’t even require standing in line.
The modern sporting arena, which opened its doors in August of 2010, is clean and easy to navigate from entrance to seat with easy-to-read signage. The building was also built to LEED environmental design specifications, which means it’s considered a Green Building. You can see some of the tell tale signs of that by all of the windows letting natural light into the building. The seats we had were in the 200s (on the upper level) and they were perfect. I did take a good look around the arena and don’t think there was a bad seat in the house.
We struck up some friendly conversation with locals, who of course were Penguin fans, and talked about the teams and our love of hockey. I felt like we were welcomed as fellow hockey fans all night. Yeah, there was the classic jawing; my guy can beat up your guy (which is not hyperbole in hockey), but we — or should I say Amanda? — gave it right back with a smile and a chuckle. I think that’s the key when you’re from out of town, you are a guest and should act like it. You eventually get an instinct for who to engage and who to avoid. If you need an outlet for dealing with the drunken guy in the seats behind you, that’s what Twitter is for:
The game itself was a bit of a disappointment. We didn’t see any of our big stars score and the new guy was in goal instead of our favorite goalie, Braden Holtby. The Caps lost and the Penguins completed a season sweep of our favorite team. I’m not sure Washington is going to get in the playoffs, and that’s a heartbreaker. We’ve done well the last few years, we just didn’t seem to have it this season.
The tickets were $99.00, which wasn’t bad. The biggest sticker shock was the price of food at the burger place in Consol, Burgatory. The hamburgers were good, even for someone who hardly eats red meat. My problem was that the burgers were premade, with the works. I mean it, if you want condiments on your burger do it yourself. Not everyone is going to like your Special Sauce. The burgers came with a side of chips, and after adding a drink, or beer, the total came to $40 for two people. I mean dude that is outrageous even for a stadium.
Oh, and one more bonus fact, Consol Energy Center is the only major sports venue that doesn’t serve Coke or Pepsi. The Dr. Pepper/ Snapple Group holds the contract, so if you go to a Pens game you better like RC Cola, Sunkist, Dr. Pepper, A&W Root Beer, or Snapple.