Pittsburgh is Hockey Town

Many have had this debate in the past, claiming their team and home is the best place for hockey in the National Hockey League.

Detroit owns the title, “HockeyTown USA.”  However, the Red Wings have struggled to sell out games in recent years and are subjected to a decent number of visiting fans in the stands every game, regular season and playoffs.  Take this year’s Stanley Cup Finals as THE prime example.

This Stanley Cup Final, the second in a row involving Pittsburgh, has brought to my attention that the title of ‘HockeyTown’ needs to relocate.

Some have have pushed for the consecutive sellout streak in Minnesota, filling every game since the team returned to Minneapolis.  Others vouch for the rabid fans in Buffalo and the Orange Crush in Philadelphia.

Here’s my push.  Yes, it’s a biased one for the Pittsburgh Penguins.  However, with the recent playoff run and becoming Stanley Cup Champions it’s hard to imagine a better candidate.

What do you do when you can’t sell out your arena and are about to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals?  Ask your opponent if they’d like some tickets, of course!

At least that’s the theme with Detroit these days.  Heck, the Pistons had to ask the city of Cleveland to do the same in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

But come on.  This isn’t the first round of a series that is decided before it even starts!  This is the STANLEY CUP FINALS!  The battle for the GREATEST TROPHY IN SPORTS!

And ‘HockeyTown’ can’t sell out Joe Louis Arena?

Now, I understand that Detroit is a city that’s suffering maybe more than any other in the United States in the current economic downfall.  But that’s just one of the many reasons a different city should be named the new ‘HockeyTown USA.’

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Who really wants to visit Detroit?  I mean, the only time I’ve been there was to pass through, normally to somewhere much better.  Windsor, for instance, right across the river is a great choice (when you’re a 19-year-old sophomore in college and can’t join many of your friends at the bar in the United States).

If we’re picking a city that differs in that sense … well, I’ve got an idea …

pittsburgh

If that’s not beauty I don’t know what is.

Whatever we say, or anyone else says, Detroit will likely never remove ‘HockeyTown’ from the center ice of Joe Louis Arena.  Regardless, I think it’s obvious that Pittsburgh is the new ‘HockeyTown.’

It appears a dynasty is in the making here.  Most of the pivotal pieces to the championship puzzle are locked down for the long term.  With GM Ray Shero at the helm as well, we can count on more good off-season and trade-deadline moves that give the Pens a chance to win the Cup in the coming years.

Now, there are good contenders to Pittsburgh for being the new ‘HockeyTown.’  To start, you have to go up in to Canada.

Toronto is an obvious choice.  They have a tremendous fan base and the Hockey Hall of Fame is there.  However, their team is beginning a serious rebuilding movement.  It appears that things are going to get much worse before they get much better there (not unlike the Pens a few years ago).

Montreal is another good choice.  Again, a tremendous fanbase.  Heck, the Canadiens are the most revered franchise in hockey — if not all of sports.  Since 1915, they have won at least one Stanley Cup title in every decade.  Working against them is the fact that they have one last chance to keep that streak going (next year).

It doesn’t appear likely.  And if you compare the Canadiens to the Penguins, there are now three titles in the Steel City since 1992, compared to one in Montreal.  I mean, it’s bad when your fans riot because of a first-round victory in the playoffs …

Moving to the U.S., I believe there are really two good candidates: Minnesota and Buffalo.  Both teams have great fanbases and sell out games left and right.  The problem with both teams is the fact that neither have experience any significant success.  The last Stanley Cup contender in Minnesota was back when the Pens beat the Northstars in 1991.  As for Buffalo … never won a Cup.

So say hello, NHL, to the new ‘HockeyTown’ USA: Pittsburgh, PA!  Being that the Steeltown is once agains the City of Champions, it’s only fitting that we take the ‘HockeyTown’ title as well.

If there are still questions regarding whether our city is HockeyTown, let these pictures firm it up a little more.  No city in the entire NHL has this …

DSCN1219

DSCN1221

Here’s how it sounded as Game three came to and end.  And the crowd was about 3,000 people stronger for Game 4 …

LET’S GO PENS!  Can’t wait for training camp to open in about two and-a-half months!!!

Chris | PPT

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15 thoughts on “Pittsburgh is Hockey Town

  1. PhillyFan

    Hope this doesn’t sound like flaming but I’m sure it will.

    1) Why is the economy of a city relevant to its status as a “hockey town” And is Pittsburgh really doing that much better than Detroit?

    2) It took 4 #1 picks and an improbable run through the last half of the season for the Pens to win the Stanley Cup. Now all of that is certainly well deserved in its place but the pens are a long way away from being the dynasty you seem to be implying.

    3) This team used to sell about 6000 tickets a game and had one foot on the plane to Kansas City just 2 years ago.

  2. christophergates

    Regardless of the economic status, Detroit has never been a pleasant place. And interestingly enough, Pittsburgh has been written about for its success amidst the recession.

    Also, it’s a bit tiring listening to fans undermine the Pens’ success b/c of having several bad seasons and getting high draft picks. That’s the way the system works. And I don’t think it’s crazy to imply that the Pens are on their way to a long stretch of success. Barring extreme circumstances, this group of players should be in the playoffs for years to come.

    As for the fans, almost any city that has a horrible team is going to see a drop in ticket sales. Add to that the fact that Pittsburgh is one of the smallest NHL cities in the league.

    Finally, a large part of the Penguins’ bankruptcy was because of aging Mellon Arena. The Pens filed for bankruptcy back when games were still being sold out in the Lemieux/Jagr era as well.

  3. CrosbysPlayoffBeard

    Instead of just bashing this idiotic article, as initially planned, I have decided to take a more civilized approach.

    I want to start by reitterating the fact that this article was made after the Penguins made a run from 10th place in the East to Stanley Cup champions. While it is a remarkable run, it proves that the city of Pittsburgh hockey is riding a wave of fair weather. Where was this article when the Penguins were going to be sold not too long ago? Where was this article when they lost last year? This article is simply playing on the emotions that all diehard Pengiuns fans are feeling now, that they are on the top of the world.

    Well guess what, there is a long way to go before any city can be claimed as “Hockey Town” USA. Detroit is a city where hockey tradition is rivaled only by a team like the Canadiens. 11 Stanley Cups and only one game away from their 12th this year. Yet, you claim that now that Pittsburgh has beaten Detroit and a bunch of fair weather hockey fans show up to their games, that they are the new Hockey Town? It is assinine to think that Pittsburgh lives and dies by their hockey team, something Detroit does. Pittsburgh is and always will be a football town. Just because people decide to cheer outside the arena and you can take a pretty picture of the skyline does not make them anything.

    Moving on, Detroit finds a way to be competitive each year, by signing big names like marian hossa, and by finding talent and depth with players like helm and erikson. It took the penguins 4 years of being the worst team in the league and gathering blue chip prospects to gain any sort of competitiveness. You say that they have people int he front office like Ray Shero. Need I remind you all the stupid moves he made in the offseason? Those deadline trades were just to cover his tracks and they worked out beautifully. How many years can they make trades like that without sacrificing future talent? Not enough to be called Hockey Town USA.

    And just for fun…Sidney Crosby is a joke. He is a pretty boy that has amazing skills, yet proves time after time he is not man enough to be the great one he was made out to be. The guy cannot even grow facial hair and has probably the ugliest playoff beard in Stanley Cup history. It is game seven of the Stanley Cup finals and you are going to let a hip stinger keep you off the ice? Joke, grow a pair. Lastly, congrats Pittsburgh on beating the Detroit Red Wings when they simply had nothing left in the tank. While I know that is not a valid excuse, it is simply obvious that if you put Pittsburgh against the Hawks and the Ducks, they will not come out alive. Datsuk out until game 6 and the norris trophy extroidinaire playing hurt the entire series, they were a banged up team who was waiting to be taken advantage of. Pittsburghs toughest series was against Philly, where a few inches makes an entire different outcome. They then get to play Washington, a one man show who for two years now has had its supporting cast vanish from the scoresheets in the playoffs. Finally they play Carolina, a team who heated up even before the Penguins, but were due to cool off and be the team they were used to being in their weakling division. Everything in this playoffs worked out in Pittsburghs favor, so let it not be a fluke before you run around chanting words like the New Hockey Town, USA

  4. christophergates

    Well it’s hard to take the opinion seriously from someone who believes Chicago and Anaheim were legitimate Cup contenders this season. Detroit is the one and only team that had a shot of beating the Pens this year. We’ve been hearing alot of weak whining and excuses from Detroit fans, but that my friend takes the cake.

    If every Cup loser cried like you guys they’d have to discontinue this thing. When Detroit beat Pittsburgh last year, it was admitted by most all Pens fans that the Wings were the better team. Now the outcome has changed and you guys need to face the facts that the better team won.

    If you can’t win 2 of the last five games, you’re not the better team. You got outplayed.

    1. CrosbysPlayoffBeard

      Listen Chris…First of all you jump right to the assumption that I am a Red Wings fan. I hate the Red Wings, but I am a true hockey fan so I can appreciate their level of play and annual competitiveness. Thinking that Chicago and Anaheim werent legitimate cup contenders proves to me that you follow the Penguins, and only the Penguins.

      What does it take to win a Stanley Cup? Since you most likely dont know, I will tell you. It takes a team that is playing to their full potential, with several scoring options, and a shut down goaltender. Lets first take Detroit and Pittsburgh…they each had these qualities, which is why they made it to the cup. Chicago, absolute lockdown goaltender, but the rest of the team did not perform (Kane only scoring one goal I believe in the series). Anaheim, hot team that took down the presidents cup winning Sharks. Hiller was the best goalie in the playoffs, and a bunch of scoring options. Did we forget they also took Detroit to seven games? Did we also forget how physical of a team they were and how physical that series was? Oh wait, I forgot you are a homer who just watches the penguins and probably never watched any other games.

      Pittsburgh was a better team last year than they were this year. The two things that helped them this year was experience, and Detroit being worse. Detroit was beat up and was vulnerable. I cannot say that Pittsburgh wasnt the best team, but they certainly werent playing against the toughest competition the entire playoffs.

      1. hockey4idiots

        First of all, a true hockey fan would not say Detriot had nothing left in the tank, thats part of the playoffs, getting beat up, withstanding the hits, to say “Detroit was a better team with nothing left in the tank” is like saying, Alex Ovechkin is a one way player” its not true. Both teams had incredible playoff runs, the Blackhawks and Ducks should have eliminated detroit much earlier. Detroit is a good team, and they hit a wall, old age and injuries included, however detroit had a 2-0 series lead, and needed to win on the road or be perfect at home, both of which they couldnt do. And to Say the playoffs for the pens was easy is biased. Philly has always been a great contender, unfortunatly people like hartnell, and carcillo ruin it because they take dumb penalties.

        Pittsburgh fans are crazy thats for sure, and they are large, the sellouts are rediclous…and 375,000 for a parade is just insane. However, last year, when Detroit won in Pittsburgh, i didn’t hear half the boos that i heard when they were giving the cup to crosby. The Detroit fans showed a lack of class, for players and the leauge.

        Next, Crosby Beard, what the heck does it matter who can grow a beard. That effects his play? Makes him less of a good player? I fail to see your proof, that is just a dumb comment, ya know if you and other Crosby haters, stopped the “Pretty Boy, Cindy Crosby” Bull you may see that he in fact is a good leader, with still much to learn. Lets face it, the kid has to deal with more today then you will ever, how many times have you got off the ice and had to spend the next hour to 2 hrs talking to the media, asking you leading questions just to publish a story? While thats part of the game, players like crosby, ovie, pavel can feel that pressure, leaders handle it and move on. Crosby dosnt hit…he rarely fights….but he does create space on the ice, passes and for some reason people hate him, if he was a checker, and a fighter would you like him? Prob not, because your not a true fan…of hockey that is…..any hockey fan can see the true greatness of each player, lets take the wings for instance…Hank is probably one of the greatest skaters in the game, he is fuild and uses that to score. Lidstrom, is the best d man period, however do i say he dosnt hit, he dosnt fight…he stinks? No, because he plays his game, and he does it well.. Crosby is a gifted passer, his on ice vision is second to none, he can create and you have to admire that…After all, every player in the NHL, is better than your every day, Beer League man….

        Rememeber true hockey fans, love to see what both teams can bring, regardless of who wins or loses, you watch teh game and wish you had the skill they had and envy the fact that you dont get to lace em up every day….man what a life…win or lose, a hockey player has it made…..

  5. christophergates

    Ok, so you’ve established that you think Anaheim and Chicago are cup contenders. But you contradicted yourself. You said it takes a whole team and then said most of the Blackhawks didn’t perform.

    I get what you’re trying to say. The thing is, this went from a piece about Pittsburgh being the new HockeyTown to teams that were ousted in the conference finals, but could have won.

    Of course I’m biased. That’s why I run this blog — because I love the Penguins and the city of Pittsburgh. I believe that in the 5th graph of my story I say the piece is biased. However, it’s funny how people assume things.

    I don’t have to defend myself or give any personal explanation on how much hockey I watch. You probably think I live in Pittsburgh. You probably think I watch the local FSN affiliate. Both are untrue.

    Moving on, the best-of-seven system is designed to produce the absolute best team. And, every year, a winner is crowned. If you get beat, you weren’t good enough — end of story. If the Wings tired out, they weren’t strong enough. If Chicago got beat by Detroit, they were weaker. The same goes for the Ducks.

    You can name drop and hypothesize as much as you want, but it’s not going to change anything. THE PENGUINS WON THE STANLEY CUP. And just like every team before them, they will be remembered as the best in hockey this year.

    I just don’t get why there are so many excuses surrounding this postseason. Hypothetical situations are just that.

    As for HockeyTown, I say it’s Pittsburgh. You don’t have to like it … but it’s true.

  6. caremill

    And how many showed up for the parade…… about a 1/2 million less than any Detroit parade. We’re a poor struggling city right now, but we will again prevail. For a FREE event in a city that has a parade for their championship team, EVERYONE shows up to show how much we appreciate them for their entertainment. You have a rude, bratty, cry baby for a team captain who doesn’t have enough consideration to find the captain of the other team for a simple handshake. The same idiot that slashes an opponent after the game is over. Thats what we call immature and bratty! It shows he’s not a leader of a team, but yet a spoiled little brat that can’t score without hanging around the corner of a net.

    1. hockey4idiots

      LOL, you my friend are funny, Lids left the ice, if he wanted a hand shake, stand there, Crosby shook players hands, i believe that this “Handshake” incident is just the thing people like you look to pounce on to hate crosby..come on lets face it, your a joke…your comments are much more funny than they are serious….”a lil bratty that can only score when around the net” well lets face it in game 7 max talbot scored, not crosby you idiot, it was 2-1 so your wrong there….proof again you are a moroon…but at least your funny, maybe get off the blog and start one about funny sports, maybe VS will throw you a contract, it will sure beat the “fan archy” and people will laugh at ya, and maybe some with ya as well

  7. christophergates

    Detroit metropolitan population: 817,000
    Pittsburgh metropolitan population: 312,000

    Don’t throw facts at me that are irrelevant. Detroit is 3x bigger than Pittsburgh so of course there will be more people there.

    1. hockey4idiots

      According to a 1984 Time Magazine article, guns came close to ranking as household appliances in Detroit, with an estimated 1.5 million firearms in a city of only 1.2 million people

  8. christophergates

    h4i just owned this blog post.

    I agree with most of what you’re saying. The Crosby baby/whining/cryer thing is so tired. It’s the only way the opposition can get on a spectacular player. It’s just like Pens fans getting on Ovechkin’s celebrations … pointless.

    Pittsburgh is home to the Stanley Cup, Vince Lombardi trophy and 14 world titles total. HockeyTahn and the City of Champions.

    Eat it.

  9. K

    This might be the dumbest article I have ever came across. I don’t even know how it showed up on my google search but when I saw the title I couldn’t help myself from stopping to read it for a good laugh. Which, a good laugh is exactly what I got.

    First off, just because your team is good doesn’t make you “hockeytown.” In order to be the true hockey town you have to have the deep rooted history that the Red Wings have…can we say original 6? Am I saying the Penguins are a bad team? No, they have talent, and they straight up played better hockey against the Wings last year. But to assume that just because your town now has a good team,you get the right to idiotically call yourself “hockeytown” is insane! Like I said, I couldn’t stop laughing at the stupidity of this article, whoever wrote this probably doesn’t know a thing about hockey, just pretty good at being a fair weather fan. It is insulting to people who actually care about this sport to read such crap as this.

    On a side note, Malkin is a much better player then croby. And I agree with the post above that Crosby’s beard is the funniest thing I have ever seen. Does his ugly dirt-stach mean he is bad at hockey? Absolutely not, but I just think its funny to look at him.

    So, “Chris”, the idiotic author of this article…please get a little more educated and stop writing such crap. You have every right to be proud of your team and to think they are the greatest in the league. But don’t get cocky and let your stupidity cloud your judgement by assuming that you now own the title of Hockeytown…that will always and forever belong to Detroit. Live with it Crosby fans.

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