Tuesday night was a good-bye of sorts for Hershey Bears’ fans. About 5,000 people filtered in to Giant Center one last time before summer break to show their appreciation for all of the accomplishments of this year’s Hershey Bears Team. The Calder Cup Celebration has become an expected event for fans like myself, who have now attended 3 of such celebrations in the last 5 years. There event is always emceed by John Walton, the voice of the Bears, and features speeches from GM Doug Yingst, Head Coach Mark French, and Captain Brian Helmer. After the speeches are said and the fans are riled, the Cup is passed through the crowd on the floor. A 2 hour autograph session follows, with each and every player available to sign items, take pictures, or just say hello.
Although I had a difficult angle to take pics at the celebration (and the obstacle of people much taller than me), I managed to get off a few shots of the players taking the stage. After you’ve seen my photos, hop on over to Penn Live to check out the pictures taken by Chris Knight of the Patriot News.
Sean Collins records the action as (clean shaven) Karl Alzner & Andrew Gordon look on.
A zebra-faced Steve Pinizzotto records the celebration as he's called to the stage.
Andrew Joudrey comes to the stage in Braden Holtby's gear.
Keith Aucoin checks the Jumbotron as Alex Giroux looks on in his new facial-hair style. Grioux also wins the superlative for the most bad-ass playoff beard-manipulator, ever.
A thoughtful, and baby-faced John Carlson takes it all in.
Playoff MVP Chris Bourque brings the cup to the stage. Looking on (left to right) Bacashihua (as evidenced by the "Cash" in his glasses), Neuvi, & Holtby.
Straight Cash, homey: Bourque & Cash look on.
The Bears - numerically, up to #21 - Jay Beagle.