Game of the Week
The Mt. Lebanon Hockey Association has launched the Game of the Week, a promotion meant to build fun and community from the youngest to the oldest players and their families.
For the first one -- the Saturday Oct. 24 league-placement game between Mark Baumgartner's Peewees and rival South Hills Amateur Hockey Association -- volunteers popped and gave away popcorn and pizza and signed up players for a raffle of a signed Patrick Hornqvist Penguins jersey and a signed Sidney Crosby replica helmet. More than 100 players came, and even more family members, coaches and others. Players were asked to wear their home Hornets jerseys.
Coach Baumgartner's team showed up at the rink dressed up in ties, and Coach Baumgartner himself wore a suit on the bench. An MC played recorded music over the public-address system, adding to the "hockey night in Pittsburgh" atmosphere that board member Dave Klasnick described as "packed, loud and fun."
“The goal is to get as many kids from across the organization to attend the game to support their fellow Hornets,” he'd written in announcing the start of the weekly Saturday night/Sunday morning event, noting, “The best thing about amateur hockey is the camaraderie and friendships both the kids and parents form each season.”
That was evident throughout this great, close first game, with the Hornets holding onto a 2-1 lead late in the third period, thanks to a big sliding save in the last minute by goalie Adam Serakowski. Then, Wyatt McVerry sealed it with a steal and a breakaway, empty-net goal.
The crowd in the stands erupted into more cheers, and young spectators reached down into the runway to congratulate the home-team as they came off the ice.
Goaltender Adam wound up winning the signed jersey; fellow Peewee Clayton Kepperling, who had practice right after that game, won the helmet.
"What a fun night!" said Coach Baumgartner, as did many in the stands.
Aidan Austin, who’d scored the Hornets first goal, said, “I can't wait to go to the next one with all my teammates and Hornet friends.”