Dana Heinze grew up in a town with a very rich hockey history, Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Johnstown was the home to the Johnstown Jets that inspired the cult favorite, “SlapShot” and the Johnstown Chiefs. Heinze was the head trainer of the ECHL’s Johnstown Chiefs on two occasions (1988-92, 1995-98). During the 1988-89 season with the Johnstown Chiefs, Heinze had to dress as the back-up goalie because their goalie at the time had been called up. Later in the third period, there was a line brawl and the Chiefs goalie went to the other end of the ice to fight the opposing goalie and was kicked out. Steve Carlson, the Chiefs coach, and one of the Hanson Brothers in “SlapShot” shouted, “Get your mask on! You’re going in!”
Heinze has had a very successful career in the world of hockey, simply because, he is “living the dream” as a rink rat and quite honestly, a hockey nut. I know first hand of his true passion for Hockey as I lived a block from Dana growing up and the whole reason I am a hockey fanatic is because of him. Some of my best childhood memories were going to the rink with Heinze at five in the morning to set up the locker room before practices for the Johnstown Chiefs watching old tapes of NHL fights and meeting the players.
Heinze got his first taste of the NHL in 1992, when he joined a true hockey legend in Herb Brooks who was the coach of the New Jersey Devils. In 2000, Heinze joined the Tampa Bay Lightning Staff and spent six seasons as the Assistant Equipment Manager and was a member of the 2003-04 team that won the Stanley Cup. Heinze joined the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2007 as the Head Equipment Manager and as current coach, Dan Bylsma describes Heinze’s attention to detail, “The detail with which he prepares our team is second to none.”
The new and improved facilities at the CONSOL Energy Center have abundants of space for Heinze and his crew to repair damaged equipment up to and including: Skates, sticks, helmets, and everything else that can and will happen throughout the course of a very physical season.
Heinze is truly “living the dream” working in an environment that has been his life since his days of growing up in the suburbs of Western Pennsylvania. He is working for the team that he grew up rooting for and once dreamed of playing for as an NHL goaltender. Heinze raised his second Stanley Cup in 2009 with the Pens and continues to build a legacy as one of the hardest working men in the NHL today.