Adam Lindner | Sports Editor
Each veteran of the Pittsburgh-centric Duquesne University campus has their own favorite tricks of the trade when it comes to the Bluff and its surrounding area. It’s seemingly well-known by everyone that the No. 1 College Special at Pizza Milano on Fifth Avenue is the way to go for one’s late-night culinary desires at DU, and a bevy of other stores and retailers offer select instant discounts for presenting a valid student ID card.
But what about for Penguins tickets?
After all, the five-time Stanley Cup champion Penguins do play their home games at PPG Paints Arena, located only minutes away (walking) from Duquesne.
Not to give away the best secret of them all, but thanks to GNC Student Rush, I was able to attend six Penguins games during my freshman year at Duquesne in 2016, directly after the franchise’s fourth-ever Stanley Cup victory months earlier — each for approximately $38.
For any active high school or college student, GNC Student Rush serves as a first-come, first-serve vendor of discounted Penguins tickets, housed on Ticketmaster’s website.
If interested, the first step in joining the club is to join the Mobile Alert Club, which can be done by texting ‘RUSH’ to 32623 (messaging and data rates may apply).
Afterward, in each day that precedes a home game, those enrolled in the Student Rush Mobile Alert Club will receive a text containing a keyword related to the day’s game; by replying, each respondent is entering for a chance to win two free tickets to that evening’s game, courtesy of GNC.
For example: on Wednesday, one day before the Penguins begin their 2018-19 season with a game at PPG Paints Arena versus the Washington Capitals, the Student Rush program texted me, “1819th student to reply WELCOME wins 2 tix!”, at 4:26 p.m. I replied with “WELCOME” three minutes later, only for 6,613 people to have already responded before me.
So, while it might be unlikely that you will win two free tickets to a Penguins game courtesy of GNC — that remains the first step in becoming a Student Rush patron.
Then, each game-day at 10 a.m. ET, the game’s tickets become available online at the promotion’s location on the Ticketmaster website (I highly recommend bookmarking this tab somewhere within your personal browser for quick reference).
After that, all you’ve got to do is wait. For bigger games (rivalries, weekends, playoff games), it may be difficult to secure tickets, as it remains absolutely possible that you may be unable to secure tickets from time to time.
Being disciplined about being online right at 10 o’clock is a must for fans trying to tie down Pens tickets, and especially if that’s for a game against the Capitals or on a Friday.
Locations of the seats themselves vary from each game, and there is little that the user can do to manipulate their odds of scoring great tickets.
With certain games (i.e. a Sunday afternoon game against lowly Carolina I saw my freshman year), it’s OK to be picky with seating arrangements — sometimes, it can work in one’s favor to feverishly click the ‘refresh tab’ option, waiting for better seats.
However, for games that hold hot tickets, it’s likely wise to pin down a ticket as soon as possible. For all of the times while shopping for Student Rush tickets that I refreshed the tab and was rewarded with better tickets, there are twice as many instances of me having decent tickets, only to eventually lose them altogether.
My freshman year, I saw the Penguins play host to San Jose, Edmonton, Boston, Tampa Bay, St. Louis and Carolina, and walked away having paid just over $200.
Last season, I was naturally much busier than I was as a newcomer in 2016, but still managed to see Chicago, Buffalo and Washington, too.
This year, I hope to utilize the Student Rush program a ton once again, even though I don’t anticipate being able to attend Thursday’s season opener against the Capitals.
Likewise, I encourage any Duquesne newcomer interested in the Pens to give Student Rush a shot. Some of my favorite memories from my freshman year are thanks to the Penguins games I attended, and I’ll never forget the feeling that I got walking into the PPG Paints Arena lower bowl for the first time as an 18-year-old.
I encourage those with a valid student ID to do the same, and spend some quality time on Fifth Avenue this year.