Training camp opened for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins with plenty of new names trying to earn or keep a jersey for the season. This fall finds the return of two familiar fan favorites in goaltender Andy Chiodo and winger Tom Kostopoulos.
"We found a lot of character guys. We feel like we've upgraded some of our skill level as far as the ability to score goals and produce offense, and we've brought in great leadership. Those are the types of guys you want to have in your lineup as far as veteran leaders. They respect the community, the organization, they lead by example and we're really excited to have both those guys with us," said head coach John Hynes.
If you're having a Penguins popularity contest, these two are in your top ten. Chiodo played with the Pens from 2004 to 2006, and Kostopoulos had stints over the course of 5 seasons.
Training camp is a fresh start to any season, but having familiar faces back in a Penguins jersey is just as nostalgic for a player as it is for the fans.
"It actually brings back a lot of good memories and people have been very nice, even going back to restaurants and the staff here. A lot of fans have been out here to practices, so it's been really nice, people have been really nice," said Chiodo.
"A lot has changed in the town but it's great to see this facility they've put together and the great tradition the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins have brought along through the years. It's nice to be part of it again," said Kostopoulous.
Andy and Tom are a little longer in the tooth and a little closer to retirement, but there's still a lot of hockey in them and guys pushing the vets for a spot on the roster.
"Everything is really progressing each year and even the program. To see actual Wilkes-Barre native players coming up and being part of everything is pretty cool, so things have definitely move in the right direction every year."