Did you know 41 years before the (2-part) fabled battle for hockey's richest prize against the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh had another Michigan connection?
On March 22, 1968, Pittsburgh President Jack E. McGregor made an announcement regarding the financial future of the Pens.
He announced that the majority interest of the franchise had been sold to an investment group from Michigan.
The name of this new consortium was “The Hockey Club of Pittsburgh” which was very similar to the original ownership group name of which was “The Hockey Club of Pittsburgh Inc.”
I guess they were not feeling very creative that day.
While many of the franchise's founding fathers (partners) remained, The new faction was manufactured by well-heeled Bankers and Ford executives.
The new hierarchy indicated that they had no intentions of relocating the neoteric franchise or altering the current management structure. Citing that the collective vision of the group was to bring a Championship to Pittsburgh. (It would take several decades and several more ownership changes for that notion to come to fruition.)
McGregor added “The financially stronger entity will enable Manager Jack Riley and Coach Red Sullivan to continue the fine job they have done in developing and running the team in its first season”
Pittsburgh (5th Place in the Western Division) at the time was in the throes of a battle for a playoff spot and a gutted-out 4-2 victory against the St. Louis Blues the night before the announcement was made. Keeping the spark of (playoff) hope alive.
That spark would soon fade as the Penguins failed to make the play-offs that season finishing with a record of 27-34-13 missing the mark by only 2 points. Close yet far.
Thanks for reading this weeks #PensTimeCapsule and be sure to join us every Wednesday as we unearth long forgotten events from the Penguins storied past.