Penguins drop puck on new era of hockey in new arena

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Talk about a christening.

When the lights came on for the official grand opening of hockey at the new home of the Penguins, Mario Lemieux appeared at center ice with a ceremonial bottle filled with melted ice from the Mellon Arena.

He held the container aloft to the cheers of a sellout crowd and poured the liquid onto the ice, linking the old surface with the new one at the Consol Energy Center in advance of the regular season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers.

The special ceremony was the highlight of pre-game ceremonies. Earlier, Penguins players arrived in SUVs and walked on a red carpet into the building as their fans cheered. The festivities were shown on an outdoor TV screen, which remained on so fans could watch the game on TV the way they could watch playoff games at the old arena.

Among the dignitaries taking part in opening night was National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman.

Im Jimerson, who traditionally sings the National Anthem at home games, sported a tuxedo as he carried on the tradition in the new $321 million building.


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