Penguins fly entire team to be with Kris Letang at his father's funeral
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Penguins fly entire team to be with Kris Letang at his father's funeral

An incredibly classy move by a classy franchise.



Sunday evening, after dusting the woeful Arizona Coyotes 4-1 in Arizona, the Pittsburgh Penguins were scheduled to fly home to Pittsburgh, somewhere they hadn't been since leaving home for the Winter Classic on New Year's Eve. The team hasn't been in their home city in 2023, so you can imagine just how keen they were to get back on home turf.

Instead though, they made the decision to fly through the night to Montreal, arriving at 4am. Why, you ask? To attend the funeral of Claude Fouquet, teammate Kris Letang's father.

Josh Yohe of The Athletic reports that the team's leadership group spoke with coaches and team management to ask for permission to attend the funeral and to pay their respect's to Letang's father.

More from Yohe:

The Penguins had just defeated the Coyotes, 4-1, on Sunday night, ending a six-game losing streak. Their travel plan was to immediately return to Pittsburgh, where they haven’t been since leaving for the Winter Classic on Dec. 31.

Instead, they traveled through the middle of the night to Montreal, arriving at 4 a.m. Then, they slept for a brief period of time before attending the funeral of Claude Fouquet, father of Kris Letang.

While the Penguins were on the Western swing of the road trip that took them through Las Vegas and Phoenix, some of the team’s veterans came together with the coaching staff to discuss a mutual desire to attend Fouquet’s funeral in Quebec.

Mike Sullivan was not only on board with the plan but was one of the people who spearheaded the decision.

The Penguins were then set to return home later today, where they won’t have much time to prepare for Tuesday’s game.

But then, for this group, taking care of teammates is more important than obtaining a certain amount of rest before a game.

This is a particularly vivid illustration of how much Letang means to everyone on this team.

- Josh Yohe

Now THAT'S leadership personified. 

An incredibly classy move by the Penguins to not only green light this decision, but to even have the forethought to change plans in the first place. Again, to me, that's leadership.

After all, it's been an incredibly difficult season for Letang both physically and mentally. The veteran blueliner has missed time after suffering a stroke due to a cardiac condition just last month. It was the second time that he has experienced a stroke in his illustrious NHL career. Not a single person would blame Letang for walking away from the sport. But, it's not in his makeup. He's a hockey player to the core, so of course he's back on the ice. But then follow that up with his father's death just weeks later and... well... that's a LOT for any single person to handle. Once again, kudos to the Penguins for showing support for their teammate.

Source: Josh Yohe