By Rachel Jones | Photographs from Justin Aller/Pittsburgh Penguins
Every year, every NHL team strives to accomplish the same goal: winning the Stanley Cup. And teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins, who dominated in the most recent season and achieved that pinnacle goal? “You just want to do it again,” says Pittsburgh Penguins Patric Hornqvist.
Still striving for another dance with Lord Stanley, Hornqvist says the team is focused on adding a fifth Cup to the collection and making the franchise’s 50th anniversary season extra special. “Obviously, it’s a long road to go through — all of those ups and downs, and it’s a long season — but I feel like we have a great team. We know what we need to do to be successful. I think everybody feels the same way: It’s our Cup. We want to defend it and win it again.”
Q&A with Patric Hornqvist
After last season’s Stanley Cup victory, how did you spend your day with The Cup?
We were lucky because [Pittsburgh Penguins Carl] Hagelin lives close to me, too. He had it on Friday, and I was over there at his party. The Cup showed up at my house at 8 a.m. the next day. I had my closest family over for brunch and to take some pictures and just enjoy it. Then, I brought it to my home team to show the public. Then, I had a big party at a restaurant in Downtown Stockholm. It was nice to have all of my friends and old teammates and guys who helped me on the road to help me win it. We had a great time.
This year, the Pittsburgh Penguins organization is celebrating its 50th anniversary. What’s it like to be a part of this legacy?
It’s always special when things like that happen. It’s a great sports town, you can tell. I’ve been to a few Steelers games and Pirates games, and the fans are just unbelievable here. They show up and they share.
I think it’s great for the fans, too, that there was so much talk in the ‘90s and early 2000s about how they’re going to move and now they’re at 50 years and have four Cups. It’s probably one of the best franchises in the whole NHL. It’s great for the fans and the owners, and the city did a great job to keep the team here and let it grow and be successful.
How do you help the team stay successful? What’s your playing/leadership style?
I’m pretty simple. I like to go hard to the net and create rebounds up front and give the team energy. Pretty plain and simple. We all try to be the ‘lead-by-example’ type of player. I don’t have the biggest skills, but I have a big heart. I just try to play hard every shift and go to the net and score some goals, too.
The biggest game this month is the 2017 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game against the Philadelphia Flyers on February 25 at Heinz Field. What are you most looking forward
to at this match-up?
That will be my first outdoor game in a long time. I mean, when you grow up, you play in the outdoor rinks and all of that, so it’s probably been 20-25 years since my last outdoor game. It’s something special, though. The fans are going to be great, and they’re going to sell out that building and it’s going to be rocking. It’s going to be a great atmosphere. It’s fun to play those kinds of games. It breaks down the season to play an outdoor game. Both teams are going to be on their toes — it almost feels like a playoff game a little bit. I’m looking forward to that. It’ll be a great event, and I’m glad Pittsburgh gets that one.
Pittsburgh Penguins, pittsburghpenguins.com