By Mike Mastovich
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – The Johnstown Chiefs welcomed back a familiar face for Wednesday’s 2-1 overtime loss to visiting Trenton.
Former Chiefs equipment manager/trainer Dana Heinze returned to Johnstown for Thanksgiving and helped Johnstown’s veteran equipment manager Mic Midderhoff, who used to be Heinze’s assistant.
“It means a lot to me that Mic Midderhoff allowed me to come back and work with him,” Heinze said. “I’m here to just be a part of it. Working with the Chiefs is a lot of fun. They have a great group of guys. I stay out of everyone’s way. I observe and help Mic out the best I can.”
A Westmont Hilltop graduate, Heinze was with the Chiefs from 1988-92 and returned in the mid-1990s before working his way up the ranks to the NHL Tampa Bay Lightning.
Heinze, who brought the Stanley Cup to Johnstown in July, showed players, staffers and statisticians his huge Stanley Cup ring that recently was presented to the Lightning. Normally, Heinze would be working NHL games, but the lockout caused a detour.
“I think it was the icing on the cake,” Heinze said of Tampa’s private ring presentation that was revised and downscaled because of the lockout. “I thought seeing my name on the Stanley Cup was the greatest thing ever. But when we had the ring ceremony and all opened up our rings at the same time and saw how beautiful it was, it was awesome.”
The rings reportedly are believed to be worth between $15,000 and $20,000. Each ring has 138 diamonds – one for every point earned during the regular season and two for the 16 postseason victories.
Each team member’s ring has his name, jersey number and the postseason series victories with the opponent’s logo (4-3 over the Flames, 4-3 over the Flyers, 4-0 over the Canadiens and 4-1 over the Islanders). Blue diamonds, a nod to the Lightning’s major color, make up the Stanley Cup on the ring. Those diamonds were sent to Israel to be “radiated,” or make them blue.