TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

USA Hockey impressed with Pens, Pittsburgh

Penguins/NHL Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Related Stories

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Josh Yohe
Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, 9:04 p.m.
 

A quick glance through the Penguins' media guide indicates the majority of the team's front office hails from America.

United States hockey brass has noticed.

While at Consol Energy Center to announce that the second annual All-American Prospects game will be in Pittsburgh, high-ranking officials of USA Hockey said the Penguins' organization — specifically coach Dan Bylsma and general manager Ray Shero — has been a trailblazer.

That Pittsburgh has become a booming hockey town doesn't hurt, either.

“I can't tell you enough how impressed I am with Ray, Dan and the entire organization,” said Jim Johansson, the assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey.

“There are plenty of American coaches and GMs in the NHL, and they're really a couple of guys that stick out because of how successful they've been and how supportive they've been of American hockey.”

Consol Energy Center wasn't selected as the site of this event because the Penguins are loaded with American employees, but there is little question the game, which features more than 40 of America's best prospects, will be embraced by the Penguins.

David Morehouse, president and CEO of the Penguins, made it clear that the Penguins were eager to take part in this event.

“It's another great day for hockey in Pittsburgh,” Morehouse said. “It seems like we keep having them. Pittsburgh really has become a great hockey town.”

In recent years, the Penguins have hosted a number of signature hockey events. The Winter Classic took place at Heinz Field in 2011 and was followed by other events, including the recent Three Rivers Classic and the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Whether Pittsburgh is becoming the mecca of American hockey is debatable, but there is little question it is on the rise.

“I'm surprised by it, but then, I'm also not,” Johansson said. “Pittsburgh was always a good hockey town. But what we've seen from Pittsburgh in the past few years is really pretty special. There are other areas in the United States, especially St. Louis and southern California, where hockey is growing. But Pittsburgh's growth is incredible.”

Johansson would know. He was the general manager of the American team that recently claimed the gold medal at the World Junior Championship. Four players from Pittsburgh — Vince Trocheck, Riley Barber, J.T. Miller and John Gibson — played major roles for the gold medal winners.

“Obviously, Pittsburgh played a big part in our success,” Johansson said. “And I think Pittsburgh youth hockey is going to continue to help us. Pittsburgh is here to stay.”

So, too, is the Penguins' desire to participate in American hockey events.

“When we won the gold medal at the juniors,” Johansson said, “we received a lot of texts and calls from NHL GMs, coaches and all kinds of people. The Penguins were a part of that. And we couldn't be more happy to be having this event where they play.”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Penguins

  1. Rossi: ‘Hockey guy’ Sutter will be missed
  2. Sutter: Staal effect felt on 3rd line with Penguins
  3. Penguins trade Sutter to Canucks, sign free agent center Fehr
  4. New Pens winger Fehr ready for defense-first role
  5. Reliving the moment a decade ago that shifted the Penguins' history
  6. ‘Warning track’ makes Pittsburgh debut at Southpointe’s Iceoplex
  7. Penguins to appear on national TV 18 times in 2015-16
  8. Rossi: ‘Hockey guy’ Sutter will be missed
  9. Pens prospect Zlobin happy being back on ice
  10. Penguins bring in analytics expert from Carnegie Mellon