Wearing the 'C'

Over the past 50 years, 13 captains have led the Penguins by always sticking up for their team, working hard and leading by example.

By Brody Miller



Ab McDonald (1967-68)

The first captain in Penguins history may have needed the Penguins just as much as they needed him. Ab McDonald was coming off a few rough seasons. He had hurt his thigh and been demoted down to minor-league teams. But he wasn’t new to Pittsburgh. He was there for the final season of the AHL’s Pittsburgh Hornets in 1966-67 and led them to a Calder Cup title. Just over a month later, he was drafted by the Penguins and named captain. He only lasted one season with the Penguins, though. He was traded to St. Louis after the Penguins’ first season.


Earl Ingarfield (1968-1969)

Earl Ingarfield was another early Penguins captain added via the 1967 NHL expansion draft. He was selected 17th overall, 17 picks before McDonald. Ingarfield came over to Pittsburgh after a long stretch with the New York Rangers. Ingarfield’s tenure as captain actually was shorter than McDonald’s. He was named captain in the fall of 1968 and was traded to the California Seals on Jan. 30, 1969. He spent less than two full seasons in Pittsburgh, scoring 37 points in 1967-68 and 23 points the following season before being traded away.


No captain (1969-1973)


Ron Schock (1973-1977)

The story goes that Ron Schock was with the St. Louis Blues in 1969 and attended a minor league hockey dinner. He was asked where he would least like to be traded. His answer was Pittsburgh. Two days later, Schock was traded to the Penguins. He put in four seasons there before becoming captain in 1973. In 1975, he had his career year and helped the Penguins advance to the Stanley Cup quarterfinals against the New York Islanders.



Jean Pronovost (1977-1978)

Jean Pronovost built his reputation as a star player before a short stint as captain. With the Penguins since 1968, Pronovost slowly built his way up to being a top weapon in Pittsburgh. He had seasons of 72 and 75 points in 1974 and 1975, respectively, but his 104-point 1976 season was the first 100-plus point season in franchise history. He was captain of the struggling 1977-78 team and was traded to Atlanta the next year.



Orest Kindrachuk (1978-1981)

After years playing on Cup-winning Philadelphia Flyers teams loaded with Hall of Famers, Kindrachuk came to Pittsburgh and was named captain by the players at his first training camp. The Penguins were coming off a losing season, but they made a playoff run in Kindrachuk’s first year. They didn’t have another winning season with Kindrachuk as captain. His back eventually led to a release from the team and, shortly thereafter, his retirement from the NHL. Most of Kindrachuk’s prime was spent in Philadelphia, but his years as a captain were in Pittsburgh.


Randy Carlyle (1981-1984)

The year before being named captain, Randy Carlyle broke out with an 83-point season. He earned the Norris Trophy for best defenseman in the league. Once being named captain, his and the team’s success faded. The 1983 and 1984 seasons are the two worst in franchise history, and Carlyle was sent to Winnipeg in 1985. Carlyle later coached the Maple Leafs and Ducks, winning a Cup with Anaheim in 2007.



Mike Bullard (1984-1986)

Mike Bullard was the first Penguins captain to come up through the organization. Drafted ninth overall in 1980, he was up with the team by the end of the 1981 season. Bullard’s seasons as captain will be marked by the first two seasons of the Mario Lemieux era. The team had some improvement in 1985-86, but Bullard and coach Bob Berry clashed, leading to to Bullard being traded to Calgary early in the 1986-87 season.



Terry Ruskowski (1986-1987)

Being a captain wasn’t new to Terry Ruskowski. He had been one on talented Chicago Blackhawks teams, and earned his way into being one in Pittsburgh once Bullard was traded. He had a reputation as a guy always willing to fight to defend teammates. He never put up big numbers or blew people away, but he was known as a leader. He went on to captain two more NHL teams after the Penguins, the first player to captain four teams.


Dan Frawley (1987)

The last captain before Mario Lemieux took over, Frawley was knocked out for the season with a knee injury by December. Lemieux took the reins from there. Frawley stayed in Pittsburgh for one more season before going back to the minors.


Mario Lemieux (1987-1994, 1995-1997, 2001-2006)

Not much needs to be said for Mario Lemieux. He was the savior during trying times. He led the team to two Stanley Cup titles and holds just about every team record possible. The team has won two more Stanley Cups with him as owner. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame after his first retirement in 1997, having dealt with back problems and an earlier Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis. He returned in 2000 and played until 2006.



Ron Francis (1994-1995, 1997-1998)

Ron Francis was named captain of the Hartford Whalers in the 1984-85 season at 22. But during the 1990-91 season, his captaincy was taken from him and he was traded to the Penguins. Playing behind Lemieux, Francis thrived. Francis was named captain when Lemieux missed the 1994-95 season and again following Lemieux’s retirement in 1997. Francis later played for the Carolina Hurricanes and captained the 2002 Cup team.



Jaromir Jagr (1998-2001)

In his first two seasons in the NHL, Jaromir Jagr won titles as a young star with the Penguins. He is still playing in the NHL at 44. Lemieux and Francis were the veteran stars on those teams, but by the time Francis left in 1998, Jagr had become the leader. When Lemieux returned from his retirement, it eventually led to Jagr being traded to the Washington Capitals. He ranks second behind Lemieux in all major offensive categories.



Sidney Crosby (2007-Present)

Much like Lemieux, Sidney Crosby came into Pittsburgh as the No. 1 pick. He was sixth in the league in points as a rookie and won the Hart Memorial Trophy by his second season. After Lemieux’s second retirement, Crosby was named captain and led the Penguins to his first Stanley Cup title in 2009. At just 29, Crosby is already third on nearly all major offensive Penguins records lists, with two Stanley Cup titles and two Olympic gold medals.


Web Design Zack Tanner



Stanley Cup Champions

The Cup comes to Pittsburgh

Winning one more for Badger Bob

Stanley Cup returns to Pittsburgh

Older and wiser and champs again

The beginnings

Birth of a franchise

Remembering the Igloo

The original black and gold

The Players

Mirror image

Top ten Penguins

Wearing the 'C'

More Penguins

Top ten Penguins' games


Trusting the market

Better sweaters