The Penguins could win the Stanley Cup tonight and fans, the city’s Public Works Department and businesses are all gearing up for what could be a momentous evening. No major Pittsburgh sports team has clinched a championship at home since 1960, and the town is bubbling over with excitement.
Around 19,000 fans are expected to attend Game 5 tonight, and a similar number are anticipated to gather outside Consol Energy Center to watch the game. If the Pens win tonight, a celebration will erupt throughout the city as euphoric fans take to the streets.
According the Associated Press, Guy Costa, the city’s chief of operations, said that city officials are fine with fans taking to the streets, as long as things are kept in check.
“There’s a 90-minute window as long as they’re under control,” Costa said. “That means, fans can roam the streets for an hour-and-a-half after the game ends, as long as they don’t become violent or start damaging property.”
It is a Herculean task for a city to prepare for a night like tonight. The issue in these situation is always maintaining order, keeping everyone safe and limiting property damage.
According to Sonya Tolera, public information officer for Pittsburgh’s Department of Public Safety and a huge Penguins fan herself said, while wearing black and ‘Penguin’ gold, all public works departments get involved in a night like tonight. Police Chief Cameron McLay has changed his officers’ schedule to 12-hour shifts so more police will be working during and after the game. In addition, the Fire Bureau and the the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services will have additional firefighters and paramedics working tonight.
According to a representative from the Port Authority, they will be providing extra cars on the T tonight to accommodate the big crowds but service will run as usual. There haven’t been any modifications to the bus schedule.
Fans will also be watching the game and potentially celebrating inside local restaurants and bars and those establishments are preparing for large, enthusiastic crowds.
Buford’s Kitchen, across the street from Consol Energy Center, is anticipating an extremely busy night, as eager fans started to gather outside the restaurant at 11 a.m.
“We expect to be busy from 3 this afternoon to 2 in the morning,” says Nickie Kredel, Buford’s general manager. “We will have all hands on deck, and we ordered (food and beverages) like we were going out of business.”
To maintain order, Kredel will rely on her staff. She said, “I have my own security and have added a few more for tonight. We take it upon ourselves to monitor things so they don’t get away from us. I feel really comfortable.”
Kredel said the kitchen will be open after the game and both the downstairs and rooftop will be open. Buford’s is running a few specials today, including $3 Miller Lites, the “Hat-Trick,” which is three shots of Fireball for $20 and a “Sinking Sharks” shot for $5.
If the Penguins clinch the Stanley Cup tonight, 105.9 The X and ESPN Radio will be broadcasting from Buford’s from 12:30-4:30 a.m. Friday.
Pittsburgh fans love their fan parties and homes and businesses alike today are awash in black and gold decorations as fans decorate for what they hope will be a victorious celebration.
Marcia Feinberg, owner of the Mike Feinberg Company party supply store, said everything Penguins and black and gold have been flying off the shelves since the Penguins won Game 4 in San Jose on June 6. According to Feinberg, the Rally Towel is their hottest item.
Rally Towels will be waived furiously tonight in hopes of inspiring a Penguins win on home ice, giving the Penguins the opportunity to hoist the cup in front of their adoring fans.