Hockey is a family tradition for the Loney family.
So is winning hockey games at Mellon Arena.
Troy Loney broke into the NHL with the Penguins and quickly became a fan favorite with his hustling, physical and hard-working style on the ice. He was a key component of the Penguins’ two Stanley Cup championship squads in 1991 and 1992 and helped the team win the Presidents’ Trophy in 1993.
|Troy Loney won two Stanley Cups with the Penguins. |
He played many memorable contests at Mellon Arena as he appeared in 532 regular-season games with the Penguins and tallied 169 points (69+100) and 982 penalty minutes. He appeared in 66 playoff games and had 22 points (8+14) and 97 penalty minutes.
However, Loney was claimed by Anaheim in the 1993 NHL Expansion Draft. He spent a year there before splitting the 1994-95 season between the Rangers and Islanders before retiring.
Nevertheless, he returned to Pittsburgh, where his family had put down roots. And now, he continues to make more memories on Mellon Arena ice.
Only this time, it’s his sons, Reed and Ty, doing the skating, passing and shooting.
Troy Loney was on the bench as an assistant coach for Pine-Richland as the Rams captured the 84 Lumber PIHL Penguins Cup Class AAA championship last Wednesday at Mellon Arena with a 5-3 win over Bethel Park.
It was a special moment for Troy as Reed and Ty earned championship medals in the victory.
|Pine-Richland captured the Penguins Cup Class AAA championship. |
“It was nice last year to share the Class AA title with my oldest boy Reed, but to have them both together on the same team this year, that doesn’t happen too often with brothers,” Troy said. “It’s nice for the kids to get down here and play where I played, rather than just sitting and watching. They create their own special memories here like I was able to do.”
For Reed, a senior forward, this was the second Penguins Cup championship he got to experience with his dad as a coach. Pine-Richland won the Class AA championship last year at Mellon Arena.
“The first time is always the best, but having it happen again is always a fabulous experience. It’s good to know you’re still on top. It’s just a great experience. It’s one of my best memories,” he said. “Having my dad there on the bench is definitely something that’s special and something that doesn’t happen a lot. It’s always good, especially because he is a hockey dad who knows what he’s talking about hockey-wise. It’s nice to listen to him and take his advice and have that father and son connection at the same time.”
Only a sophomore, it was Ty’s first Penguins Cup experience.
“It was a lot of fun. My brother is a senior and I wanted to win it for him. It’s his last year playing here,” he said. “It was fun playing at the arena. When my dad played, I watched reruns of him on TV playing here and then coming here and hearing the crowd going nuts was just great.
|Reed Loney shoots the puck past his dad during a Penguins family skate in the early 1990s. |
“It’s a lot of fun having him as a coach. He knows what he’s talking about and gives us a lot of encouragement. He teaches us what he knows and how to win. It’s been a lot of fun having him as a coach this year for Pine-Richland,” he continued. “He has a lot of fun out there. He loves it, too, coming down to where he used to play and winning some more big games.”
This year marked the first time Reed and Ty have played together on the same hockey team due to their age gap.
“Ty is a great guy to be around and hang out with. He’s a great player to on the team. He has great hands and a great shot and I really enjoy having him on the team,” Reed said. “It’s the first time he and I have been on the same team, so it’s great to actually win something at Mellon Arena with him for the first time.”
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Ty said. “We’ve had a few brotherly tussles, but it’s been a good year.”
The Rams (24-0) were just the third unbeaten team to capture a Penguins Cup championship. Pine-Richland will look to complete the perfect season when it goes for the Pennsylvania Cup state championship Saturday at the Cambria County War Memorial in Johnstown.
“Going undefeated is tough. The law of averages says you’re going to get beat sometime. You just want to make sure it’s not your last game,” Troy said. “You have to win. It’s one game and I know we’ll be playing a strong team and I’ve heard a lot of good things about them. We have to be ready to come out ready to go. To be able to finish on the bench with my oldest son when he’s done with the part of his hockey career that I’ll ever coach is pretty cool.”
Reed is looking to add a second state championship medal to his collection.
“Winning back-to-back state championships, especially as a senior, would be magnificent,” he said. “I just hope that we get out there in the right state of mind and come out firing and just play well.”
Added Ty: “It feels like a Stanley Cup for us. That’s what we’ve been playing for all year. It’s really special for my brother, too, since he’s a senior and we want to win it all for the seniors.”
It’s been quite a run for Pine-Richland, which won two-straight Penguins Cup and Pennsylvania Cup titles in Class AA before moving up a classification to Class AAA this season.
|Reed (left) and Ty Loney spent some time with the Stanley Cup when they were younger. |
“This year, I think we knew the challenges ahead of us and I think we knew we could do it,” Reed said. “When we stepped up, we knew we had to play our game and if we played our game, we were going to beat every team. There was no question about that.”
The Rams struggled early against Bethel Park and faced a 2-0 deficit before Pine-Richland stormed back in the third period with an offensive barrage to post the 5-3 triumph.
“We have a good group of kids who want to work together and that’s the key for us,” Troy said. “When we work together, we’re a very, very good team. It took us a little while to get moving together against Bethel Park, but once we started to work together, we worked well.”
Once Reed graduates, it will be up to Ty to help keep the Pine-Richland train rolling.
“I have to keep it going now,” he said. “I hope to just keep playing hard and hopefully we’ll keep having the success we’ve been having.”
Reinforcements are on the way, though. A third Loney boy, Clint, will be a freshman for Pine-Richland next year.
“He is a good little hockey player, too,” Reed said. “He has all my attributes, so I hope he turns into a little Reed.”
Clint plays forward like his older brothers.
|Troy Loney with his sons (from left) Reed, Clint and Ty. |
“Hopefully, maybe next year or the year after that we’ll be on the same team,” Ty said. “It’s nice for me. I get to play on the same team as Reed now and hopefully Clint will look up to me the same way I look up to Reed.”
The Loney family is a big one. Troy and his wife, Aafke, also have a daughter named Aafke, in addition to three cats and a dog. Still, the three boys have some good times playing hockey – or being involved in any other competitive activity – together.
“We’re pretty competitive, but most of the battles go to me,” Reed said with a laugh. “I am just kidding. Those two team up against me, but I usually come out on top.”
“Yeah Reed’s a little stronger and bigger. He outweighs me a little bit,” Ty said. “We have some good battles. It’s a lot of fun. We just try to do the best we can and get better together.”
When the three play hockey, they make Clint be the goalie, naturally, since he’s the youngest.
“Ty and I go one-on-one and we make Clint go in goal,” Reed said.
“Clint actually likes being the goalie so it works out,” Ty said.
When Troy joins in for some shinny hockey, he teams up with Clint to beat Reed and Ty.
“He cheats though,” Reed said with a laugh.
Nevertheless, Troy feels very fortunate to be able to share more time with his sons through hockey.
“It’s nice. I have three teenage boys and it’s fun to get them out of the Mite level and tying their skates to now seeing them as young men and watching them trying to be better players and growing up,” he said. “It’s really fun to see that full spectrum with my kids.”
Troy hopes to keep coaching while his sons are still involved in local hockey.
“I’d like to coach my youngest son. I just like coaching. I really like it,” he said. “I don’t really sit in the stands of too many games. I’d rather be standing, opening the bench door or doing something. It’s a much better view from down at the ice.”
He’s happy to pass on the hockey knowledge he gained throughout his successful career.
“The greatest joy is getting something out of a kid that he doesn’t think he has,” he said. “That’s the fun of coaching, to me.”
Troy isn’t alone as many former Penguins players have taken an active role in helping out youth hockey in this area.
“We have a lot of guys with a lot of kids around the same age, so everyone is out there and it’s fun to coach against those guys when you see them across the ice. We share stories and it is fun because we should be giving back,” he said. “I try to encourage all the kids that I coach to come back and coach. Once we get this cycle of kids cycling back through in Pittsburgh, our hockey is good now, but it is really going to be good then.”