by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins
Tragedy struck the Tauch family early Monday morning at 3 a.m. when a fire burned down their Upper St. Clair home. The family lost everything, but thankfully they made it out safely.
Of all the things the family lost, 7-year-old Bennett was especially distraught that his hockey equipment was gone. Bennett is a member of the Sidney Crosby Little Penguins Learn to Play program. As of which he received free head-to-toe gear, including skates. But that gear was now gone.
"That was his first concern, the hockey gear," said Bennett's father, Mike. "He wanted to make sure he had that. It was all he wanted."
The Penguins learned about the Tauch family's loss and reached out. The family was invited to attend the team's practice at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex on Friday afternoon. And the biggest surprise was yet to come.
Crosby personally hand-delivered a brand-new set of hockey gear to Bennett and his father inside the Penguins locker room.
"Awesome!" Bennett reacted to meeting his favorite player.
Crosby also gave Bennett a No. 87 jersey with a personalized autograph, as well as some shirts and rally towels.
"He had an unfortunate accident and lost his equipment. I just gave him some new equipment," Crosby said. "He seemed pretty happy. They lost a lot. He was upset about the equipment so I think he's happy he got it back."
While the Tauch family is still reeling from their losses, they are filled with optimism and hope at the way the community - in particular the hockey community - has rallied around them.
"It's such a close-knit family," Tauch said. "We've been helped by other organizations. It's been very helpful to get through this."
And having a chance to get away from the trauma has been a positive for the family.
"It's good just to step away and let the kids see this," Mike said. "Even for my wife and I, it's very good. It's something we'll never forget."