March 10, 2023

Bev Lutz Attained A Goal — With An Assist From Sidney Crosby

Left to right: Tanner Lutz, Jared Lutz, Alecia Allworth, Bev Lutz and Allan Lutz at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh on Dec. 10.

The Cameco Riders Touchdown for Dreams program facilitated one especially memorable touchdown — in Pennsylvania.

On Dec. 9, Bev Lutz and some of the people dearest to her landed at Pittsburgh International Airport with the anticipation of seeing a National Hockey League game.  

But there was considerably more to the equation than an already-anticipated Dec. 10 contest between the Buffalo Sabres and the host Pittsburgh Penguins.  

Lutz was able to meet her favourite player — Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby — after he scored two goals in a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at PPG Paints Arena.  

“Bev couldn’t speak to Sidney when he appeared from the Penguins’ dressing room,” recalls  

Jonathan Huntington, Cameco’s vice-president, sustainability and stakeholder relations. “It was truly a special moment because she was lost for words.”  

Even now, it can leave her virtually speechless.  

“It was quite the experience,” Lutz, 60, says from her home in Yorkton.  

Earlier in 2022, Traci Lindemann had submitted an application to the Cancer Foundation of Saskatchewan in the hope that her aunt would have a wish granted via Touchdown for Dreams.  

The program, established in 2011, makes dreams a reality for women who are facing a life-threatening cancer diagnosis.  

“You never think that, living in Yorkton, you’re going to get to see the Penguins play in Pittsburgh,” marvels Lutz, who is battling lung cancer.  

“You’d normally expect to see them play in Winnipeg, Calgary or Edmonton — somewhere closer. It would have been nice to do that, too, but it wouldn’t have been quite the game. You wouldn’t get that hometown feeling.  

“Seeing a game in Pittsburgh, the whole arena erupts when the Penguins score, and there are the ‘Go Pens Go!’ chants.”  


Bev Lutz rubs it in to her son, Jared, after her Pittsburgh Penguins scored against his Buffalo Sabres on Dec. 10.

Among most of the spectators, anyway.  

Lutz’s son, Jared, is an ardent fan of the Sabres. His allegiance was unaltered by the congenial post-game meeting with Crosby.  

Jared, 33, and his 28-year-old brother, Tanner, made the trip to Pittsburgh along with their father, Allan. The travelling party also included Huntington and Jared’s girlfriend, Alecia Allworth.  

“I thought at first that I’d only be able to bring along one person,” Lutz says. “How better can you experience it than with your whole family there?”  

Lutz moved to Yorkton with her family when she was a youngster. A graduate of Sacred Heart High School, she would establish a career as a warranty administrator at Yorkton’s Key Chevrolet.  

One of Lutz’s colleagues happens to be a technician who cheers for the Ottawa Senators, who faced the Penguins in the NHL’s Eastern Conference final in 2017.  

“There we were, battling each other,” Lutz says of the friendly jousting. “When Pittsburgh won, I plastered things on his toolbox. When Ottawa won, he plastered things on my vehicle.  

“We won that.”  

In seven games, as it turned out, as the Penguins surged to their third Stanley Cup title in the Crosby era.  

Sid The Kid, No. 87, has helped Pittsburgh win it all in 2009, 2016 and 2017. The Penguins had previously captured championships in 1991 and 1992, with Mario Lemieux — the legendary No. 66 — leading the way.  

So it came to be, 30-some years later, that Lutz was in Suite 66 (named in honour of Lemieux) while awaiting a once-unfathomable meeting with Crosby.  

The brush with greatness was unexpected until the third period of the Pittsburgh-Buffalo game, when Saskatoon-born Colby Armstrong — a Penguins alumnus who is now a team broadcaster and community ambassador — visited Lutz at PPG Paints Arena.  

“This amazing experience wouldn’t have happened without a huge assist from one of the nicest individuals in hockey — Colby Armstrong,” Huntington says. “Great people come from Saskatchewan and Colby is one of them.   

“I can’t thank him enough for making this dream come true. His work in the background with the Pens and Sidney was nothing short of incredible.  

“From the moment we walked into the rink that night, it was first-class — luxury-suite tickets next to centre ice, a visit to the Pens’ broadcast station, an opportunity to walk through the players’ tunnel, and meeting Sidney.”  

It was an audience that Lutz did not expect until Armstrong told Lutz that “you and Jared will be able to meet Sidney Crosby after the game.”  

Lutz’s reaction: “It was just shocking.”  

Especially when Crosby greeted Lutz by handing her an autographed game-used puck.  

“We were with him for 10 or 15 minutes, for sure,” Lutz marvels. “He had just been on the ice, playing his heart out, so for him to take the time for us after the game was just great.  

“When he did come out to see us, well, all I have to say is that his parents did well. I apologized to him for my son, because he had ‘Buffalo’ all over him, and (Crosby) was so nice about it — praising Jared for his commitment to his team.  

“You’ve heard his voice so many times in TV commercials and in interviews. When he spoke to us, I thought, ‘It is him!’ ”  

When the family’s hometown was mentioned, Crosby recalled the time when he had played against a Yorkton team in a tournament.  

Moreover, he autographed Lutz’s No. 87 jersey, with the inscription: “To Bev, All the best, Nice to meet you, Sidney Crosby.”  


Sidney Crosby with Jared Lutz (left) and Bev Lutz (right) after the Penguins defeated Buffalo 3-1 on Dec. 10

In so doing, Crosby provided an emotional boost after a succession of stressful months.  

Lutz was diagnosed with lung cancer in mid-March of 2022.  

She subsequently underwent chemotherapy — which has succeeded in shrinking the tumours — and is now receiving immunotherapy treatment.  

Lutz was in the midst of a chemotherapy session at Regina’s Allan Blair Cancer Centre when she was informed via a phone call that her wish had been granted by Touchdown for Dreams.  

It was a joyous day in the life of someone who typically maintains a cheerful demeanour despite the seriousness of her health situation.  

“I’m not saying that I don’t have tough days, because everyone does, but my mindset has always been pretty good,” Lutz says.  

“My family has been so supportive and that has helped me out a lot. It’s something that I’m going to fight and try to beat.  

“Most days, I don’t even feel like I have cancer, but I know it’s there. Hopefully it’s something I can battle and win.”  

Lutz is far from alone in that fight.  

She was among 10 Saskatchewan women who were honoured during the Roughriders’ most-recent Touchdown for Dreams game, held Oct 22 when the Calgary Stampeders visited Mosaic Stadium. Fans were able to assist the cause by purchasing event-specific headwear.  

“I looked up on the stands and there were so many pink toques on display,” Lutz says. “It was amazing to see.  

“That weekend, we all met for supper and talked about what our dreams were. I told them mine — to go to Pittsburgh to see the Penguins play — and the reaction was, ‘Ohhh, that’s a good one!’ ”  

Lutz plans to attend this year’s Touchdown for Dreams game and cheer on the recipients while, of course, proudly wearing a pink toque.  

Applications for Touchdown for Dreams 2023 are due by March 30. An application form can be found by visiting cameco.com.  

In April, 10 women will be selected by an adjudication panel. Each dream has an estimated budget of $10,000.  

“It’s a fantastic program and the Roughriders are a fantastic organization,” Lutz says.  

“They allowed all the dreams to become a reality. Mine was just the coolest.”  

One that will always provide the warmest memory.  

“We have granted nearly 70 dreams to women with life-threatening cancer — and I will remember for years the impact Sidney had on Bev that night,” Huntington says.  

“Some people say you should never meet your heroes, because it might not unfold the way you want. That wasn’t the case with Sidney. He took the time to talk with Bev and her son on so many different topics. I stood back and watched in amazement.  

“I remember Bev saying goodbye to Sidney and walking to the arena doors — and I was thinking that we would need to call an Uber for Bev to get her to the hotel.  

“She had been at the rink for several hours with her oxygen tank in her backpack and she had travelled nearly 12 hours the day before.  

“The hotel was eight blocks away, but Bev rejected any idea of calling a cab. She practically floated those eight blocks to the hotel. 

“That was the power of meeting Sidney.”