Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania
Type: Suburb of Pittsburgh
Distance from Wilkes-Barre: 273 miles
Population: 19,229 (2010 Census)
When Mario Lemieux raised the Stanley Cup during the Pittsburgh Penguins first NHL championship in 1991, Dylan Reese's hockey career was born. Reese was 6-years-old at the time, a young kid growing up in Upper St. Clair, about 15 minutes south of Pittsburgh. The Penguins first Stanley Cup championship inspired him to choose hockey as his main sport -- quite a feat considering he grew up in a region where Steelers football has long reigned supreme and, on the baseball side, the Pittsburgh Pirates were in the midst of three straight trips to the postseason. But thanks to Lemieux and that first Stanley Cup, Pittsburgh and its suburbs also became a hockey hotspot, and Reese's hometown was right in the middle of it.
With three major sports teams in Pittsburgh, was it tough to pick just one?
I was a Penguins fan. Growing up, the Steelers were king, and they still are, but the Penguins have made a serious push over the last 15 years and the city really supports them. I'm a product of the early Stanley Cups, and I think a lot of kids in the area started playing hockey instead of football and baseball around that time.
If the lockout never happened, how convenient would it have been for you to attend training camp in your hometown?
It would've been incredibly convenient. I train in the summer at a facility in Los Angeles and come home to Pittsburgh before leaving for the season. This year I came home, lived at my parents' house and skated with the Pens guys in town. I was looking forward to an easy transition into camp.
Aside from sports, what's it like growing up in Upper St. Clair?
It's suburban Pittsburgh -- a blue-collar town. People have good moral roots and it's a hard-working city. The school district is great and some of my high school friends are still some of my closest friends. I go back in the summer and see them. It was a great place to grow up.
Soda or pop?
Pop, for sure. I say soda because I'm playing with all these guys, but growing up it was pop.
What are the differences between eastern and southwestern Pennsylvania?
It's a smaller town here and the city center isn't as big. But I like it here. The people are really kind here and they support the team. It's the same in that it's a blue-collar city and people work hard.
Teammate Eric Tangradi is from Philadelphia. Does the rivalry between the two cities carry over?
A couple of weeks ago the Eagles played the Steelers, so we do have a little rivalry. I still owe him $50 from that game.
Would you like to return to Upper St. Clair after your done playing hockey?
People ask me that a lot. I loved my childhood growing up there. It's a great place to raise a family and I'd definitely move back to Pittsburgh. I have a lot of aspirations for my life and I'm not sure where that will take me after hockey, but I'd have no problem living in Pittsburgh and raising a family there.
-- Tom Venesky