Say what you will about Pittsburgh and the city’s fans, but the Western Pennsylvania chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation clearly has all the right people on speed dial. The latest proof? The Penguins were the latest Steel City team to take the Spike Lee route (Do The Right Thing, man!), signing an eight-year-old with cystic fibrosis to a $1.00 contract before having him skate with the team - if you can call being skated around the ice by Matt Cooke skating with the team.
It’s a touching story, made even more impressive by just how thorough the Penguins’ approach was. Pittsburgh didn’t just bring Jacob Anderson into practice, they actually signed him to an official contract. And after he signed, Anderson had to live up to typical NHL scrutiny, facing an impromptu news conference right outside GM Ray Shero’s office.
Anderson’s Penguins adventure is reportedly the 10,000th wish fulfilled by the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Western Penn. chapter, and it follows a number of similar fantasy days set up by the Steelers and Penguins. Still, the most notable heartwarming Pittsburgh tale has to be the case of high school baseball player John Challis, who got one last hit during his final two months of life, then met Mario Lemieux and Ben Roethlisberger shortly thereafter, with the dynamic duo of Pittsburgh sports heroes asking to meet him because they were so inspired by his story. That’s saying something.
As for Anderson, he notched his first practice goal with the help of Cooke, eventually slipping a shot past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. We’re fairly confident there was a decent amount of interference in front of the net. “It took us a while, but we finally got one on Fleury,” Cooke said.
(Easiest goal ever: Matt Cooke skates, you shoot.)
Still, that’s nothing compared to the line delivered by captain Sidney Crosby, who presented Anderson with his No. 10 sweater after his contract became official. The deadpan delivery?
“We need a winger.”
Nice touch, Sid. Still, the Penguins might want to check the drying ink on the contract … we’re not sure Anderson got his whole name on there.