CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – At the break of dawn, a line stretched all the way around Dick’s Sporting Goods in Cranberry.
The first 250 fans would get an autograph and a moment of conversation with Marc-Andre Fleury, starting at 7 p.m.
Young friends Taylor Grove and Rileigh Justus, of Ellwood City, third and fourth in line, arrived at 1 a.m.
“We met some great people in line, so we kind of just talked to them, and ate some food and talked to each other,” Taylor said.
“It was very cold, and it was very fun just to hang around those people,” Rileigh added.
KDKA’s Dave Highfield has more from fans —
“Flower power” was in full bloom in Cranberry. The wrist bands were all handed out before 10 a.m. And if you weren’t there at least three hours before that, forget it.
Mark Gwynn says he traveled nearly three hours from Parkersburg, West Virginia.
“Twice they came and miscounted and said I was number 251, but I said I wasn’t going to leave till I was sure. And turned out I was 250,” he said.
The last one in line.
The goaltender has won a lot of fans and made a lot of friends, in a long and glorious career with the Penguins. It’s little wonder that so many hoped for one last chance to say goodbye.
“Ever since I was in third grade, when I was 8, I saw Fleury and I fell in love,” said Marissa Bacco of Irwin.” And ever since, I’ve just been his number one fan, tried to go to all his games, got his jersey. I have a little shrine of him in my room. I got here probably around 7:30 and got in line, and didn’t make the cut.”
It was a short and successful hop for the Molinero family of Cranberry.
“Absolutely worth the wait,” said Ken Molinero, the dad. “We love him. We’re here to support him.”
Five family members cheered in agreement.
— Ray Rupp (@RayRupp) June 20, 2017
Tonight’s event will be a continuation of a busy few days for Fleury.
On Monday, he cut the ribbon to officially open a new McKees Rocks playground that he helped to finance.
Fleury financed construction of the playground, purchased supplies for the Boys & Girls Club, and donated hockey equipment for the Sto-Ken-Rox Boys & Girls Club’s indoor hockey rink, which has been named “Rink 29.”
Fleury’s time in Pittsburgh appears to be coming to a close. It is widely believed that he will be selected by the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft.
Last week, he became emotional while talking about his time in Pittsburgh.
“It’s been such a long time, great memories. I’ve met a lot of great people. It feels like home for me,” Fleury said.
The results of the Expansion Draft will be unveiled Wednesday night.