The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

August 12, 2010

Local icon succumbs to cancer

JOHNSTOWN — Dave Zeigler, a well-known hockey figure in Johnstown and a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins equipment staff, died Thursday evening.

Zeigler, owner of Ziggy’s Sports in downtown Johnstown, had been battling brain cancer for several months.

“Johnstown not only lost a great hockey guy, we lost a great guy,” John Bradley, Zeigler’s friend and business partner, said late Thursday. “He was special. It’s just a sad day.”

Zeigler leaves behind his wife, Donna, and two children.

Donna Zeigler said arrangements will be under the direction of Ozog Funeral Home Inc., Johnstown.

“He’s out of pain now,” she said. “And it was very peaceful.

“We were all there with him.”

Zeigler spent a career outfitting hockey players of all ages, from local youth and high school teams to professional players with the Johnstown Chiefs and Penguins.

Bradley said Zeigler was one of the first people he met when he came to town as a young goaltender with the Chiefs 17 years ago.

“No matter who you were, he treated you special,” Bradley said. “It didn’t matter if you were a novice or the best player in the game, he treated everybody special.”

On June 5, numerous former Johnstown professional players took part in a charity all-star game at Planet Ice in Richland Township to support Zeigler and his family. “Ziggy’s Fundraiser” also featured a memorabilia auction and attracted more than 500 people to Planet Ice, raising more than $64,000 to help offset Zeigler’s medical costs.

“That fundraiser, Dave talked about it a lot,” Donna Zeigler said. “He said, ‘I never knew I had so many friends.’ ”

Dana Heinze, equipment manager for the Penguins and a Johnstown native, said he got the news of Zeigler’s death after a day of purchasing equipment for the NHL team’s new home, Consol Energy Center.

Heinze said he and the other equipment staff members remarked that they missed Zeigler while they were working at the new arena.

A few hours later, they learned he had died.

“I know he’s in a better place,” Heinze said.

Zeigler was in Detroit with the Penguins in 2009 when they won the Stanley Cup championship. He was on the ice for the post-game team photograph – standing alongside Penguins owner Mario Lemieux.

“Not one guy I know has been more committed to hockey than Zig,” Bradley said. “You can really appreciate how much it meant to him that when the Pens won the Cup, he was there.”

For many years, Zeigler operated the pro shop at Cambria County War Memorial. He then opened Ziggy’s Sports across from the arena at Napoleon and Market streets.

Bradley called Zeigler

“Johnstown’s Mr. Hockey.”

“He wanted to make everybody smile. He wanted to make everybody happy,” Bradley said.

“He’ll never be forgotten, that’s for sure. He touched so many lives.”

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