BONVIE RIGHT AT HOME IN LUZERNE COUNTY

When Dennis Bonvie arrived in Wilkes-Barre back in 1999, he had no idea of the impact he would make on his new team, let alone hockey fans in Northeast Pennsylvania.

But he certainly sees the mark he’s left now.

Bonvie was among the dozen figures inducted into the Luzerne County Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday night at the Best Western Genetti Hotel & Conference Center in downtown Wilkes-Barre.  He’s the first member of the Penguins to receive the honor from the local organization.

But it wasn’t an honor Bonvie was expecting until he received a phone call two months ago.

“I was kind of in awe, I didn’t know what to say,” he stated from the podium in a packed ballroom.  “Anytime you can be part of a hall of fame with these special people, these special athletes, you say yes right away.”

Already a seasoned-pro of six seasons, Bonvie joined the Penguins organization just prior to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s first training camp, and spent two years with the club.  He experienced the lows (a last place finish in the team’s inaugural season) and highs (a trip to the Calder Cup Finals in the second) in a short amount of time.

But it was the thrills, big hits and fisticuffs that he displayed that turned the what was officially known as the Northeastern Pennsylvania Civic Arena and Convention Center into the “House That Bonvie Built.”

Bonvie spent considerable time away from the rink engaging with fans throughout the area, endearing himself to hockey aficionados and newcomers alike.  He never shied away from a photo or autograph, and generously donated time to community appearances and charity events.

The native of Antigonish, Nova Scotia left the area after the 2000-01 campaign, but returned to the Penguins four years later to great fanfare.  He spent the final three seasons of his 15-year pro career with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, before hanging up the skates at the conclusion of the 2007-08 campaign.

But that was hardly the last Penguins fans would see of Bonvie, as he and his family (wife Kelly, son Rhys, and daughter Davyn) continue to reside in Luzerne County today.

“I came here not knowing what Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania was,” said Bonvie.  “It’s our second home now.”

For more information on the Luzerne County Sports Hall of Fame, visit the organizations official website.

2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

FORMER PENS REUNITE AT GOAL IN ONE GOLF CLASSIC


December 28, 2005 is a date that Colby Armstrong will likely never forget.

It was immediately after recording a goal and two assists against the Hartford Wolf Pack that night that the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward received a promotion to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and he spent the next seven seasons as an NHL regular.

That night was also the last time the foursome of Armstrong, Dennis Bonvie, Chris Kelleher and Alain Nasreddine appeared together until this week.

That handful of former Penguins returned to NEPA to take part in the team’s inaugural Goal in One Golf Classic, presented by GWC Warranty.  Those skaters joined past and present Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coaches at a VIP reception on Sunday night, before hitting the links with more than 80 golfers on Monday afternoon.  The tournament, a benefit to raise funds for the Penguins GOALS Foundation and Blue Chip Farm Animal Rescue, was held at Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club in Mountaintop.

“Honestly, time flies, but it doesn’t seem like that long ago,” said Armstrong, who spent parts of four seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.  “But the cool thing about it now is these guys are all involved in hockey, and I kind of get to do it from the other side now.”

Armstrong now serves as a post-game analyst on Pittsburgh Penguins television broadcasts, and Nasreddine is entering his third season as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils.  Bonvie and Kelleher, who still make their homes in Luzerne County, are scouts with the Boston Bruins and Minnesota Wild.

“We’re all a little fatter, a little older,” quipped Armstrong. “But we’re still involved with the game and i think it’s pretty cool.”

The group had plenty of time to catch up with one another, as they teamed to shoot a 61 and take home the title in the team’s inaugural summer tournament.

“Every time we get together, it’s still those stories.  And I know you want to hear one or two but, they’re definitely stories we can’t really tell you,” laughed Nasreddine.

“It’s a good thing there was no social media back when we played,” replied Kelleher.

The group, which one social media user call the ‘Mount Rushmore of WBS Penguins’, also spent time reminiscing with former coaches during the two-day event, including Glenn Patrick, Michel Therrien, John Hynes and Mike Sullivan.

“It just shows too how Wilkes-Barre had an impact on a lot of people,” said Nasreddine.  “Everyone’s back.  Even Sully, who just won two Cups, and he’s here.  [It just shows] how important Wilkes-Barre was to us four and all of these people who showed up.”

2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information

GUERIN JOINS LIST FOR GOAL IN ONE GOLF CLASSIC


United States Hockey Hall of Fame member, Stanley Cup champion and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins general manager Bill Guerin has joined the roster for the team’s GOAL IN ONE Golf Tournament, presented by GWC Warranty.

Guerin joins an impressive lineup of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton alumni, including the Pittsburgh Penguins’ two-time Stanley Cup winning coach Mike Sullivan; current New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes; Devils assistant Alain Nasreddine; and Glenn Patrick, who guided the Penguins during the team’s first four seasons in the American Hockey League.  Former Penguins players Dennis Bonvie and Chris Kelleher will be on hand, as will current Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coaches Clark Donatelli, Chris Taylor and J.D. Forrest.

The two-day event will feature a VIP reception at the Westmoreland Club on Sunday, July 16, followed by the 18-hole, captain and crew format tournament at Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club on Monday, July 17.  Golfers will be treated to continental breakfast, lunch on the course, hors d’oeuvres and a pig roast dinner, as well as an open bar during the meal, and a special gift for each participant.

More names will be added to the lineup in the near future.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Penguins GOALS Foundation, which provides young people and families with the opportunity to experience the game of hockey firsthand, as well as the Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge in Dallas, PA.

Registration for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins GOAL IN ONE Golf Tournament, presented by GWC Warranty, is $1000.00 per foursome.  Spots are extremely limited.  To reserve your team’s spot in the tournament, contact the Penguins at 570-208-5425, or email Shari Zbegner at szbegner@wbspenguins.com for more information.

2017-18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Season Ticket Information