Kids Are Big Winners at Penguins Free Game

The Saturday afternoon preseason contest between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Columbus Blue Jackets was the 4th annual “Free Game For Kids” day at Consol Energy Center.

The atmosphere was incredible because of it.

What would have normally been a standard preseason game, complete with rosters full of young talent, ended up being just as much about the young talent in the audience.  Kids arrived by the bus-load from all over the region, each wearing their own team’s youth jerseys. This added a patchy effect to the crowd, with giant areas of like-minded colors providing the backdrop to an otherwise lackluster performance by the Penguins.

During the segments where the arena’s giant screens demand the crowd “Make some noise,” the kids were only happy to oblige.  With a sound that would rival a playoff game, the kids let roar an incredible wave of cheers. The pitch was noticeably higher than a regular crowd, and that added a quality to the sound that assaulted the senses. Breaking 100 decibels at times, the place was full of energy.


Provided with signs in support of Pittsburgh hosting the 2018 World Junior Championship, chants of “U.S.A.” broke out sporadically during the game.

At the end of the 1st period when multiple fights broke out, the kids ate it up. As the game got out of hand and the Blue Jackets push their lead to 4-0, what would normally be a nonplussed crowd was instead alive with dancing in the aisles.

The game didn’t matter, but that didn’t matter.

With how hard those kids cheered, the other big winners of the day had to be the parents – knowing that many of those kids would be fast asleep in the car ride home.

Here’s a video about the event:

The Game

Down 4-0 four minutes into the 2nd period, having just given up 2 power play goals to begin the period, the Pens finally turned the corner. Two and a half minutes later, Sidney Crosby lit the lamp with helpers by Kessel and Kunitz.

Then, just 10 seconds before the period ended, Kessel contributed again, this time with a goal to cut the Blue Jackets lead in half heading into the 3rd period.

The game ended 4-2 with the Blue Jackets earning a preseason win, but the fireworks didn’t end there. This game included a pre-scheduled 3-on-3 overtime, where Crosby scored what would be regularly a game-winning goal.