2 Westmoreland County natives play role in Penguins' journey to victory
Chasing and winning the Stanley Cup was a big job for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
And it was no small task for members of the team's communications department.
“It's constant trips,” said Jason Seidling, manager of communications. “You touch three cities, and it's been maybe 36 hours. By game five (of the playoffs), I was pretty tired.”
It was a good kind of tired for the North Huntingdon man and Norwin High School graduate in his first experience with the team winning hockey's top prize.
“Honestly, lifting the cup is what you've been waiting for your whole life,” said Seidling, who works as the media contact for the team.
Another behind-the-scenes player, new media design coordinator Dave Geier of New Stanton, had similar thoughts about working for the team during its successful run. Geier has been managing social media accounts, making television graphics and taking photographs for the team since December 2014.
“You're already happy to be working in sports,” he said. “You never really think that you're going to have that opportunity” to hoist the Cup.
Geier and Seidling did get that opportunity to drink from the Cup with all the players, coaches, families and other staff. That kind of thrill eases a lot of the fatigue of the playoff run for the two local men who grew up watching, playing and wanting to work in sports.
They both majored in communications at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, where they found mentors that encouraged them to pursue a sports-related career. Before getting to the Penguins, they interned and worked with other teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Seidling said being from the same area as the team you work for can help with certain aspects of the job.
“Sometimes the bigger the fan you are, the tougher it is to work in this environment,” he said. “I think being familiar with the team, their history, their nuances — every team has little traditions that are unique to its market — it helps in that regard. You know your market and your fans.”
With the recent success under its belt, Seidling predicts that the team will relax and “play looser” in the coming years. Similarly, Geier said his and Seidling's work will become more relaxed as well.
“There's been so much pressure on these guys to win a second Cup,” Seidling said about stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, who led the team to a Cup early in their careers in 2009. “I think it will allow them to play the rest of their careers loose. Anything they get from here on out is a bonus.”
After the 2009 championship yielded high team expectations that weren't met in following years, Seidling said fans became doubtful and negative — feelings that are nowhere to be found these days.
“I think the joy returned (to Pittsburgh,)” Seidling said. “The joy of coming out of nowhere to win this one really returned everyone's passion for hockey.”
Natalie Wickman is a Tribune-Review staff writer.