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‘Homegating’ is one of the best ways of life for Penguins’ nation

Getting your mind and body ready for a Penguins’ game is almost as important as watching it.

NHL: MAY 07 Playoffs Round 1 Game 3 - Rangers at Penguins Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Being live at Pittsburgh Penguins games is an amazing experience. But whether it’s due money, time, or travel, even the most diehard of fans are bound to watch the team more from home than in person the majority of the time with games being played across the North American continent. When you can’t really tailgate, you can always “homegate”. What is homegating? Pretty much anything and everything you do to create a gameday atmosphere from the comfort of your own place as you get ready to cheer on Sid and the boys.

With that in mind, let’s get ready for the upcoming 2022-23 Pens’ season to kick if off right with some homegating tips.

Fries on everything

Everyone is aware that french fries are already one of the best foodstuffs around, but any good Pittsburgher also knows that you can use the mighty french fry to augment just about any meal.

Toss those babies on your sandwich, and boom, that’s the iconic taste of Pittsburgh. Get really creative and you can use the fries to top a salad as something of a crouton, but obviously even better since fry > plain crunchy bread. Fries almost make a mean base for nachos or could be used pretty much in any fashion your imagination will allow. Or just keep it simple and dump a ton of Heinz on them and you’re good to go. Anything works when you’ve got fries.

My other favorite and super special “this reminds me of my Pittsburgh Grandma” recipe that I’ll bring out for big games goes like this. Take a big skillet, chuck in some sliced kielbasa, pierogies, as many different colored peppers as possible (red, yellow, green) and onions. Fry that up and then top with shredded cheddar and sour cream. Maybe even sprinkle on some cut up french fries pieces when no one is looking. Then give a ring over to Guy Fieri, ‘cuz you’re headed to Flavortown, baby!

Get that lucky jersey or shirt ready

Whether it’s your favorite tried and true jersey that you always wear for big games, a new addition to your closet, or just a special old shirt or hoodie, we all have that special clothing article ready for game time. Maybe it’s a towel from an old playoff game or the old hat that you cling to like a superstitious Sidney Crosby. Nothing gives the big game feel more than slipping on your black ‘n gold and showing your colors in support of the Pens.

Crank up some tunes to set a mood for pre-game

In the past, it was always great to fire up the Pens app or the radio to hear Mike Lange talk about his keys to the game and what he was looking for. Now that the long-time voice of the Pens retired, it has caused a little change in my pre-game ritual.

While the talking heads on TV are getting their audiences ready for the game, one hack I like to do is fire up my speaker and get a good pre-game set of music going. Much like the Pens’ official dee-jay Brian Dumoulin, my mix is guaranteed to get the gang goin’ and ready for the game to start. (OK, or usually it’s just Spotify or Apple Music doing the heavy lifting with a playlist that I’ll skip through to find songs I want to hear at that moment).

Funny enough, earlier this week Seth Rorabaugh from the Trib pointed out Dumo’s public pre-game playlist on Spotify. So if you want to hear some of the actual tunes the team will be listening to, maybe right as they are — you’re in luck!

(Also, I guess I’m officially an old — because out of the 45 songs on this playlist I’ve heard of exactly zero of these songs and only about four of the artists. NHL players love getting into the zone with EDM and house music a lot more than me, it goes without saying..)

An NHL season is filled with ups and downs, but the real fun is enjoying the time spent along the way. Whether you collect a big crew for the important games, or just like to spend your own personal quality time by yourself, when you homegate to get ready for the Pens, it always ends up as a great day.