Pens' Engelland Meets Fans, Signs Autographs at Giant Eagle

Engelland was at the Leetsdale store Friday to help celebrate the supermarket's grand re-opening.

When Heather Goetz stopped by the to pick up some groceries Friday, the Sewickley woman got a little more than she bargained for.

Goetz had no idea that Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland would also be in the store meeting fans and signing autographs for two hours. 

“Well, it’s my day,” said Goetz, 26, as she waited in line.

It was a hockey night in Leetsdale as more than 100 Pittsburgh-area fans streamed through the supermarket, waiting patiently for their chance to meet Engelland. The NHL star was in town as part of Giant Eagle’s ongoing  the supermarket's expansion. 

 greeted fans last month and former Pittsburgh Penguins centerman and seven-time Stanley Cup winner Bryan will meet fans at noon Feb. 18.

Engelland laughed when asked if he thought so many people would show up.

“I figured it would be pretty steady,” he said.

Showing concern, he asked one excited fan, "did you have to wait long?"

Engelland, 29, a native of Edmonton, capital city of Alberta, Canada, signed a three-year deal with the Penguins last January. He is known as a tough player who brings an aggressive, fighting edge to the line up. Engelland went on to play Saturday in a game against the Winnipeg Jets. Pittsburgh 8-5 at Consol Energy Center. 

But area fans were already celebrating a win Friday night. 

“It’s very exciting,” said Kim Racioppo of Baden, who came with her children Ryan, 10, and Megan, 15, along with their friend Holly Stock, 15, looking to meet Engelland.

They waited in a line that stretched the length of the check-out aisle and curved past the milk and greeting card sections down to the meat aisle.

“I was by the milk,” said Chrissy Hallissey, a self-described “super duper” Pens fan, who said she waited in line for about an hour.

As she stepped out of line, Hallissey, a first- and second-grade teacher at  was surprised by one of her biggest fans, a pupil who asked for her autograph.

“That's so sweet,” she said.

Billy Cole, 27, of Monroeville, made it to Leetsdale in the nick of time, as a store manager prepared to cut off the line. Cole said he stopped by a meet and greet with right winger Tyler Kennedy at the , where he said the line was just as long.

Goetz, also one of the last standing in line, said she and her best friend are huge fans who often go to games together. But one of her best memories, she said, is sitting with her dad the two Stanley Cups in the 1990s.

She planned to give her autograph to her father, who collects Pittsburgh sports memorabilia.


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