Weather Doesn’t Bother These Penguins

WILKES-BARRE — Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward Tim Wallace had no idea that every school in the area closed on Thursday due to the snowstorm that hit the area.

Heck, Wallace hardly noticed the few inches that covered the ground by the afternoon.

“People are canceling things?” he said.

The reason why the local reaction to Thursday’s snowstorm was a surprise to Wallace is that in his hometown of Anchorage, Alaska, it would take much more than a foot of snow to close things down.

More like five feet of the white stuff, he said, adding that school was only canceled once when he was a kid.

“It’s surprising that people have to shut down the world with a couple inches of snow. To me, it is not a big deal at all,” Wallace said.

Nor was it a big deal to the other Penguins as every player made it to Thursday’s practice at Coal Street without problem.

Mark Letestu, who hails from Elk Point, a town with a population just under 1,500 in eastern Alberta, was also surprised that area schools closed for the snow.

At home, Letestu said, it would take severe ice or temperatures of minus-40 degrees to stop the school buses from running.

But that still didn’t mean that school was closed.

“The buses shut down but the school never closed, so if you could walk to school you’re going,” Letestu said. “There were a couple of real cold days, close to minus-50, when we didn’t go, but a day like today we’d be going to school.”

Or to hockey practice.

Considering that all of his players come from places where snow is the norm, head coach Todd Reirden said the thought of canceling Thursday’s practice never entered his mind.

Most of the Penguin players have trucks and live in Wilkes-Barre, Reirden said, so getting to the rink wouldn’t be a problem.

So what would it take to cancel practice?

“If the rink was closed and we couldn’t get in. That would probably be the only situation,” Reirden said.

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