By Dave Crawley

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s an exciting day for Alex Bardyguine and his family, as they catch a live Penguins practice, thanks to Make-a-Wish.

Marc-Andre Fleury is his favorite.

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“He’s a huge hockey fan,” says his mother, Jennifer Bardyguine. “So for him, he didn’t even sleep last night, knowing he was coming here today.”

Alex has a primary immune deficiency, which makes him susceptible even to a minor cold. But when he’s feeling well, he takes to the ice himself, in an Armstrong County hockey league.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he says.

It’s also fun for cancer survivor Faith Custer.

“I like to watch the goalie,” she says.

The 29th annual Children’s Practice and Party is sponsored the by the Penguins and other groups. Haley Spitznagel is a patient at Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh.

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“I like hockey,” she says.

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Make-a-Wish kid Dalton Bogac sums it up: “It’s a great day for hockey.”

It’s about to become even greater, as the players crash a post-practice pizza party. Alex watches for Marc-Andre Fleury, as players sign jerseys and pose for pictures.

“I think we get a lot from Pittsburgh, so I think the main part is just try to give something back,” says defenseman Olli Maatta.

“It makes the hard practice we went through seem much easier,” defenseman Ben Lovejoy adds.

The day is complete for Alex, as his favorite player signs his jersey, No. 29. And Haley gets to meet her favorite player – Sidney Crosby.

We’ve done this for a long time, and try to have fun with it, and hopefully the kids enjoy themselves,” says the Penguins’ captain.

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Yes, it is – a great day for hockey.