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Pittsburgh is one of the greatest sports towns in the United States, with some of the most storied franchises found anywhere, and the Penguins are no exception. Those who buy Penguins tickets get to watch a team that has dominated hockey in the Eastern Conference for years, that has won multiple Stanley Cups, and that has been proud to put some of the top players in the league on display. With legends like Mario Lemieux and modern phenoms like Sidney Crosby, the Penguins always make sure the fans have exciting players to cheer for.
The NHL initially just had six teams, now often known as the Original Six. Those teams were the Detroit Red Wings, the Boston Bruins, the Chicago Black Hawks, the Montreal Canadiens, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the New York Rangers. In 1967, the league decided to double in size by adding six more teams, and the Penguins were one of those expansion teams. It makes them one of the oldest teams in the league, which now has 30 different clubs. When they started, they played their home games in “The Igloo”—technically named the Civic Arena. However, they got a new rink in 2010, and they now play in the Consol Energy Center, as those with Pens tickets know well.
The Stanley Cup has often been called the most highly revered trophy in professional sports. In the NFL, for example, the battle is to win the Super Bowl. Yes, the Lombardi Trophy is well-known and presented to the winner, but it's not the same. The Stanley Cup is honored. Players are so dead-set on winning it that they often don't touch the conference title trophies for fear of jinxing themselves. There's an entire celebration that takes place when a Stanley Cup is won, as players pass it off and skate laps with it, often raising it over their heads.
It's something that the team and those with Pittsburgh Penguins tickets have witnessed three times in the club's history. They have been to four Stanley Cup Finals, and they won the ultimate prize in sports in 1991, in 1992, and most recently in 2009.
There have been many great players in Penguins' history that fans who bought Penguins tickets have loved to watch, but no one has left his mark on the franchise like Mario Lemieux. He was a dominant player, a ferocious scorer, and one of the best athletes to take the ice. He also saved the franchise.
Back in 1983, there was a real concern that the Penguins may have to close their doors, that the franchise would fold. They had just put up the worst record in the NHL, and it was very hard to compete. This was before the salary cap, so teams with more money could spend it and buy stars at will. The Penguins could not, and they ended up last again in 1984. That was more of a blessing than a curse, as they were able to turn a terrible season into the first overall draft pick. They used it on Lemieux, the biggest star in the draft.
It took more than just Lemieux to make the team good again, but he started the turnaround and got the fans—who hadn't been sure if they should buy Pens tickets when the team was losing—back in the building. By 1989, the team was back in the postseason. Two years later, in 1991, they won the Stanley Cup. They took it again in 1992, one of the few teams to put up back-to-back wins.
Lemieux played his entire career in Pittsburgh, from the time he was just 19 until he was 40. He put up 690 goals and 1,033 assists, for 1,723 total points. Perhaps most excitingly for fans who had Pittsburgh Penguins tickets, he scored 49 shorthanded goals, hammering the puck into the back of the net even when the other team was on the power play. One of his best years was in 1989, when he had 85 goals, 114 assists, and 13 shorthanded goals.
After Lemieux left the second time—he retired once, came back, and retired again in 2006—the faces of the Penguins changed. They drafted Evgeni Malkin in 2004 with the second overall pick and Sidney Crosby in 2005, with the first overall pick. Malkin's arrival was delayed because a team in the Russian Superleague owned his rights, but he showed up in 2006. Those three years were huge for the team, building the modern version, and culminated with the Stanley Cup win over the Detroit Red Wings in 2009.
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