|Jay Heinbuck, left, and Ray Shero '84 hold the Stanley Cup after helping the Pittsburgh Penguins win the National Hockey League championship trophy from off the ice.
The Pittsburgh Penguins came a long way from a 2005-06 team that was dead-last in the standings to 2008-09 Stanley Cup champion, and they can thank the work of two key members of their player development staff with strong St. Lawrence University ties - Ray Shero '84 and former SLU assistant coach Jay Heinbuck.
The Penguins defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in the seventh game Friday to claim the victory and cap a quick turn around from league doormat to champs. Shero was hired as the team's general manager after that horrible 2005-06 season, and led the team to almost instant success. In his first year, the team improved by 25 wins and in his second year the Penguins won their division and advanced to the Stanley Cup finals where they lost to the Red Wings. This season, the team was in 10th place in February when Shero fired head coach Michel Therrien and replaced him with Dan Bylsma. The team responded by going 18-3-4 to finish the season and give Pittsburgh its first Stanley Cup title since 1992.
Prior to coming to Pittsburgh, Shero was assistant general manager of the Nashville Predators for eight seasons and the Ottawa Senators for six season prior to that. A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Shero played at St. Lawrence, serving twice as team captain, and was drafted by the Los Angeles
Kings in 1982. He worked as a player agent for seven years before entering NHL
management. His father, the late Fred Shero, was general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers when they won Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975. Shero earned his St. Lawrence degree in sociology.
Heinbuck, who was an assistant coach under Joe Marsh from 1992-2002, became the Penguins Director of Amateur Scouting in 2006 and oversees amateur scouting in North America and Europe. Prior to joining the Penguins, Heinbuck worked four years with the New York Islanders as their United States Head Amateur Scout.
Posted: June 15 2009