Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2009, 06

The World Series and Super Bowl trophies along with the Stanley Cup were on display at the Governor's office in Harrisburg, PA.
(Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
The Stanley Cup returned to the Pittsburgh area for several days, enjoying a public celebration hosted by the governor, got the chance to look out over the construction site that will evolve into the new home of the Pittsburgh Penguins, then enjoyed visiting two local members of the Pens' staff.

With the Stanley Cup strapped securely into its seat, a private jet flew into Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There, to meet Governor Edward Rendell, was an assortment of proud Pennsylvanians, both by birth and by transplantation. The Penguins were represented by president David Morehouse and Tom McMillan, the vice-president of communications. But in addition, there were members of the Pittsburgh Steelers with the Super Bowl and some of the Philadelphia Phillies with the World Series Trophy. Clearly, it was an amazing year for the State of Pennsylvania when it comes to sports. Wow!

The Stanley Cup stopped by to see the workers at the site of the Penguins new arena.
(Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
The media congregated in the Capitol Building for the historic photo opportunity. Then over four hours, almost 7,000 constituents slowly got the opportunity to walk by and observe all three championship sports trophies.

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The Stanley Cup was given a bird's-eye view of the new arena being built to house the Penguins. On Thursday, July 9, the Cup was carried to the top of the Mellon Arena, the current arena, and was able to look across to the construction site where, in October 2010, the Consol Energy Center will open as the new state-of-the-art home of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

That afternoon, Danny Kroll, the assistant equipment manager, got the chance to spend some time with hockey's big prize. It was very much a celebration with family and friends for Danny.

Penguins assistant equipment manager Danny Kroll brought the Cup to his local barber in Pittsburgh. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
First of all, Danny took the Stanley Cup to the Pittsburgh home of his grandparents. Then, it was over to Schneider's Dairy to be congratulated by his Dad's co-workers. Danny made stops at his bank, barber shop and then to his parents' home, where his mother, father and three sisters hosted neighbours and friends.

Kroll had a party set up at the home of a friend, but was shocked to find the place jammed to the rafters with some 500 people waiting to party with the Stanley Cup. "I can't figure it out," Danny stated in astonishment. "I only invited about 200!"

Danny snuck the Cup into the house before he was sardined outside and got some photographs with his special friends in the house, then took the trophy outside. The evening ended with a return to his childhood home where he and his family posed for pictures with the Stanley Cup he and the Penguins' won back in June.

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Former equipment manager of the Johnstown Chiefs Dana Heinze brought the Cup back to Johnstown where some of the Chiefs Alumni got their picture taken with Lord Stanley.
(Phil Pritchard/HHOF)
For equipment manager Dana Heinze, his celebration was almost like a normal workday. Starting bright and early on Friday, July 10, he met the Stanley Cup at the Mellon Arena at 7:30, then drove with the Cup to his hometown of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

It was almost exactly five years from the last time Dana had celebrated a Stanley Cup win in Johnstown. On July 9, 2004, while working as assistant equipment manager with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Heinze had the great fortune to take hockey's biggest prize to hometown.

Now, if Johnstown sounds familiar, you're right – it was the home of the Chiefs from the classic hockey film, 'Slapshot.' And if you've ever watched 'Slapshot,' you certainly know that there was no possibility that the Chiefs were ever going to entertain a celebration with the Stanley Cup. Thank goodness for the generosity of Dana Heinze!

Head equipment manager Dana Heinze brought the Cup to Valley Printing in Johnstown, PA. (Phil Pritchard/HHOF)
Everywhere you go in Johnstown, there are memories of 'Slapshot,' whether it is someone wearing a jersey here, a bar that appeared in the film over there or some folks strolling by who are more than proud to tell you they appeared in a crowd scene.

The Heinze family is well-known in the town. His father, Lou, died earlier this year, but back in 1950, helped build the Cambria County War Memorial, the home of the Chiefs. Dana's Mom was a volleyball official in town for fifty years. And Dana's claim to fame was playing one game in goal with the Johnstown Chiefs of the ECHL in 1988-89 while serving as the team's head trainer.

Heinze then took advantage of his day with the Cup to visit a number of the Penguins' suppliers who are located in the Johnstown area. Among several stops, he dropped by Ziggy's Sports and Valley Printing to thank them for their support of the Penguins in their quest for the Cup.


Penguins head equipment manager Dana Heinze and his wife Kathy share a moment with the Cup in Johnstown, PA. (Phil Pritchard/HHOF)

Dana and wife Kathy took a few moments to head over to the Johnstown Inclined Plane, a cable-hauled railway that provides transportation between downtown Johnstown, on the floor of the Conemaugh River valley, and the borough of Westmont, on top of the bluff that overlooks the valley from the west. It affords an extraordinary view of the city, and made for a memorable photograph.

Stopping at his Mom's house, Dana showed off a wide array of amazing collectibles, from framed hockey jerseys to miniature trains to his mother's cut glass. Dana invited fans to stop by the house beginning at 4:00PM and see the fabled Stanley Cup up close and personal and chat with Dana. Whether it is the current NHL or Johnstown's hockey history, Heinze is an aficionado of the game, and in 2007, he contributed to a book titled, 'Slap Shots and Snapshots: 50 Seasons of Pro Hockey in Johnstown.'

It appeared as though the entire town and THEN some stopped by the Heinze home. The procession of fans continued for six hours, until finally at 10:00, every fan wishing to see the Stanley Cup had had the opportunity to do so.

At that point, a family party took place at the house. Toasts were made all around, including Dana's success with the Penguins, to memories of his Dad, who would have so enjoyed the special celebration. And, as the morning began with Dana wearing his equipment manager's hat, so too ended the day, as he made certain the Stanley Cup was thoroughly scrubbed before it continued its summer-long adventure.

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We'll flip the page on the Stanley Cup Journal on Tuesday and visit Massachusetts, where we'll peek in on Ray Shero's celebration on Cape Cod and Rob Scuderi's day in Boston.

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Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame. www.kevinsheahockey.com



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