PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Penguins hope 2012 brings good tidings.

That hope goes double for special fans who come to watch them practice at CONSOL Energy Center.

The Pens have invited children and families from the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the Children’s Home and Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh.

“It’s lots of fun to be with the Penguins,” says 10-year-old Domenic Tirone.

Seven-year-old Annabelle Neuschwander agrees. “I’ve been to this place before, but I didn’t ever get to see the Penguins.”

Six-year-old Andrew Warhola has a family secret.

“He loves Jaromir Jagr because he speaks Czech like Andrew,” says his mother, a native of the Czech Republic.

“And because he’s a really good player!” Andrew adds emphatically.

Tony Ricalton of Alberta, Canada, says his daughter brought the family to Pittsburgh. “We’re all Calgary Flames fans,” he says. “And she’s the only Pittsburgh Penguin fan in the family.”

“Because of Sidney Crosby” Annika Ricalton explains.

Annika’s favorite player is a gracious host. Sidney Crosby and fellow players join their young fans for lunch at CONSOL Energy Center. Still suffering from concussion symptoms, Crosby can relate.

“Some have said they’ve kind of been able to compare situations,” he says. “And, although I know what they’re going through is much tougher than what I’m going through, I’m happy to influence them and help them in any way.”

He’s true to his word, signing jerseys with the number “87” for his No. 1 fan in Alberta.

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