Several months ago, the Penguins let myself and a few other bloggers out of our mothers' basements for a tour of their still-to-be-completed future home, the Consol Energy Center. This week, said bloggers and I were invited back, further widening the gap between the Pens and any other pro team in this town in the category of Nice Gestures Made Towards Bloggers. But that's a topic for another day. This day was all about an architectural marvel that the city and team should be extremely proud of. A photo journal follows.
This is the entrance to Suite 66, the super-high-rollers' club that sits adjacent to the players' entrance tunnel (just like at the Cowboys' new stadium). It's reserved for team events and private sponsors, and probably won't be available through the Student Rush program.
This is the photo that greets you at the Suite 66 doors. I think that the team should sell reproductions of this size photo in the gift shop. In fact, I think it might look good in front of the entrance to my house.
Here's a shot of the much-hyped video screen. Probably one of the last times it will be showing the new "Star Trek" movie, though.
An ice-level view, or seeing the game as Marc-Andre Fleury sees it as Penguin fans boo him.
The interior of the Pens' locker room, complete with a pretty sweet style of carpeting.
Note the locker room ceiling, an ode to Mellon Arena. From the players' point of view, it's probably one of the few odes they'd enjoy from the Igloo.
Here's a look at the Pens' player lounge outside of the locker room. I foresee a lot of money being won and lost in bubble hockey in this team's future.
This is a look at the visitors' locker room, which is actually being used as a subliminal recruiting tool to opposing players along the lines of, "if they treat the opposition this way..." Remember that when the Pens sign Patrick Kane someday.
Here's a look at one of the Bistro concession areas, a certain destination for a future installment of Nerd vs. Food
This is the Brewhouse, a high-end concept with a spectacular view of the city to boot
And here is the Brewhouse menu, where a hot dog and water will set you back almost $9. Hey, you have to pay all of that talent one way or another.
I took this shot of the Igloo from inside the Consol Center, showing just how spectacular the view is. Free with purchase of $6 onion rings. (I kid, I kid).
This is the main control room, with more equipment than KDKA, WTAE, and WPXI combined. Approximately.
Finally, this is a look at an incredible idea to recognize the team's illustrious history with a striking tribute to franchise and individual awards and performances. I look forward to many of those empty blocks being filled in the near future.
Once the tour was complete, there was not much left to say. The Pens and their designers seem to have thought of everything, and I fully expect this facility to pay huge dividends to the organization and the city for a very, very long time. It took a long time to come together, but as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait. And this isn't just good, it's great.
Thanks again to Tom McMillan and Chris DeVivo of the Pens for organizing a second tour and taking the time out of their schedules to walk us through this ridiculously awesome building. Myself and the other bloggers on the tour owe them a second enormous thank-you for their very progressive views towards blogging and the Pittsburgh blogosphere in general. Now let's win some Cups!