By Nicole Tracey
"…and now ladies and gentlemen, here are your Pittsbuurrghh Pennguuiinnss!"
That ever so famous voice that echoed through the rafters of the Igloo belonged to John Barbero. High school principal by day, voice of the Igloo by night, John took on the role of the Pens' PA announcer for 36 seasons. Like any dedicated fan, Mr. Barbero stuck with the Pens through thick and thin, the good and bad. 3 Stanley Cups, Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Sidney Crosby and Marc Andre Fleury, just to mention a few names and moments that were on John's resume. When going to a game at the Mellon Arena, you knew what you were in store for. John warning us about flying pucks into the seats, or "Look to the sky Pens fans" as the blimp flew past your head. The starting line - up was an experience of it's own. John had the ability to get 17,132 pumped for the game by just saying the players' names.
As the game started you anticipated a goal being scored and when it did, Barbero never failed to let you know. At times the goal announcement was better the goal itself! Mike Lange summed up John's ability the best,
"He had the ability to tingle your spine with post-goal announcements, and that will live with Penguins fans forever."
Mr. Barbero was a certainly one of kind. You wouldn't be able to find his style in any other arena. From the Mariooo Lemieuuuuuuuxs to the Jarrko Ruuuuuuutuuus, from the Sidney Croooosbyyys to the Marc Andre Fleurrryyys. No one could ever replicate, just imitate. As the doors closed on the Civic Arena for the final time this past season, it almost seems fitting to say, "The Captain goes down with his ship." John Barbero will be greatly missed amongst fans and the organization, but before I finish, I have one more question for you John, "How much time is l left in the period?"