When they host the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow night at PPG Paints Arena, the Penguins will be holding a special celebration for Mario Lemieux. His charity foundation, the Mario Lemieux Foundation, is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary and the Penguins will be honoring him for that.
Per the Penguins:
Mario will drop the puck at a ceremonial opening faceoff, then sign a jersey that will be part of a charity auction. The Penguins’ traditional in-game auction will benefit the Mario Lemieux Foundation, and there also will be unique auction items available at www.mariolemieux.org.
The Foundation was created in 1993 by Mario and his wife, Nathalie, after Mario recovered from Hodgkin’s disease. MLF remains dedicated to cancer research and patient care, having donated nearly $25 million to foundation-related programs and built 36 Austin’s Playrooms for children and families in challenging medical situations.
As part of the night-long celebration, guests in several suites (including the Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin charity suites) will be in-patients from UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center, as well as survivors and patients from the Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers and the Mario Lemieux Lymphoma Center for Children and Young Adults.
The new Mario Mosaic in the Highmark lobby will also be unveiled.
”It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years, but we’re excited to celebrate our 25th anniversary with Penguins fans on Thursday,” said Nancy Angus, executive director of the Mario Lemieux Foundation. “Mario and Nathalie recognized a need in our community back in 1993 and knew that their adversity could be turned into something good. We are very proud of the foundation’s accomplishments, knowing we have made a difference for so many - and we’re not finished. We have more work to do in the next 25 years.”
”I don’t think any person in the history of sports has had more of an impact on a franchise than Mario Lemieux on the Pittsburgh Penguins,” said David Morehouse, the team’s president and CEO. “But beyond being a Hall of Fame player and a Stanley Cup-winning owner, he has made an indescribable impact on the Pittsburgh region with his commitment to the community, especially through the Mario Lemieux Foundation. We thank him for these 25 years of work with the Foundation - affecting so many young lives in a positive manner -- and are proud to support him for many more.”
In addition, the Penguins will be debuting their new gold “third jerseys” on Thursday night.
Perhaps while debuting the new gold jerseys and Lemieux is being honored, he could lace up the skates for old times sake and play in the bottom six. It’d likely be an upgrade at this point.