This weekend is going to be a special one for not only the city of Pittsburgh but one Saultite named Gene Ubriaco.
Ubriaco played on the original team back in the 1967-68 NHL expansion that included The California Seals, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the St. Louis Blues.
Ubriaco still remembers ‘the igloo’ or as they would call the Pittsburgh arena in those days, seeing it from up the street as he was driving closer in his 1959 Impala.
Ubriaco made his way on the team by demanding more money playing with the Hershey Bears than they ever payed a player. So they sent him to Pittsburgh and he made his debut in the NHL.
They averaged about 7,407 people at the arena that year.
Ubriaco banged home 18 goals and 13 assists to put him seventh in scoring on the team with 33 points. Not bad for a rookie!
He was paired with the likes of Andy Bathgate, Ab McDonald, Ken Schinkel, Art Stratton, Earl Ingarfield, Val Fonteyne, Noel Prince, Paul Andrea, Billy Dea, Keith McCreary, Leo Boivin, Bob Dillabough, Bob Rivard, Bill Speer, George Konik, Al MacNeil, Wayne Hicks, Dick Mattiussi, Dunc McCallum, Mel Pearson, Hank Bassen, Les Binkley, and Ted Lanyon,
They would be the first expansion team to beat an original six team, the Chicago Black Hawks.
On October 11th, 1967, Montreal Canadian Jean Beliveau scored his 400th career goal on goaltender Hank Bassen of the Penguins.