DICK'S Sporting Goods and the Pittsburgh Penguins

DICK'S Sporting Goods, Pittsburgh Penguins

2023 Nominee ✨
  • Best Brand Sponsorship


DICK’S Sporting Goods believes that sports make people better and that giving back makes them successful, which is how the DICK’s Sporting Goods - Penguins partnership is approached. The partnership strives to make sports more accessible while diversifying the game of hockey, and it really lands with Penguins fans.

77% of the Penguins database subscribers recall a DICK’S Sporting Goods – Pittsburgh Penguins Partnership asset. To top it off, Penguins rated DICK'S Sporting Goods almost as relevant to their lives as Amazon! Amazon scored 73 and DICK'S 62.


How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

Our programs drove 2,000+ young girls to play hockey, growing USA Hockey membership by 70.2% in Western PA since 2008. We anticipate other sports teams to continue to mirror the investment in growing their games.

The Willie O’Ree Academy was built by Penguins leadership supported by DICK’S, recognizing that Black hockey players often face unique circumstances within the hockey community. 80% of parents indicated that the program exceeded its objective ‘to build a social network of youth minority hockey players and their families’.

This season, Academy members participated in an essay contest that asked the question, “What does hockey mean to you?”. The prize—a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the 2023 Winter Classic! DICK’S played an integral part in selecting the winners.

One winner started his hockey journey in Little Penguins. "I would never have been able to afford the equipment, so I'm just so thankful.” His submission read “I would like to show the world that there are young Black hockey players who can be a positive ambassador for the sport of hockey…,” He feels that the sport, which is rewarding and challenging, has given him a purpose in life—and that he would like his experience to inspire others.


DICK’S Sporting Goods believes that sports make people better and that giving back makes them better, which is how the DICK’s – Penguins partnership is approached.

One partnership objective is diversifying the game of hockey. DICK’S presents the Willie O’Ree Academy, a free training, social and enrichment program for local Black youth hockey players in Pittsburgh.

This ESPY-nominated program is for players and families to share experiences and build relationships with peers, while elevating their skills and opportunities in the game. DICK’S also puts on various girl’s hockey clinics with the team. Annually, Pittsburgh Penguins players take underprivileged kids shopping at DICK’S providing them with all of their winter gear and a once-in-a-lifetime memory with a hometown player. The partnership is about memorable experiences!

The partnership strives to make sports more accessible while providing opportunities for success - including on the ice. Logan Cooley, 3rd overall draft pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, first learned to play hockey in the Little Penguins Learn to Play program - presented by DICK’S. He then played for five years on the DSG Penguins Elite teams before turning professional.


Strategy & Execution

DICK’S owns the youth hockey landscape in Western Pennsylvania. Additionally, their partnership resonates with the modern sports fan within the Pittsburgh Penguins’ designated marketing territory.

77% of the Penguins database subscribers recall a DICK’S Sporting Goods—Pittsburgh Penguins Partnership asset. DICK’S scored second only to naming rights partner PPG.

Their local dominance in supporting youth hockey via Penguins programs includes:

Hockey Development

  • Learn to Skate presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods - 2,000 participants each year Little Penguins Learn to Play presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods - 3 sessions across dozens of partner facilities in the Penguins marketing radius
  • Mite Development League presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods
  • DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Penguins Elite -19 DSG Pens Elite teams (over 350+ players), including a new 19u girls prep team focused on hockey training, elite competition and college exposure. 44 alumni currently playing in NCAA D1, OHL, USHL or US National Development team levels. Last year, 8 former Pens Elite players competed in NCAA Women’s Division I, including three in the Championship game

Unique Platforms

  • Willie O’Ree Academy
  • Girls clinics
  • Project Bundle Up
  • Jr. Starter
  • Annual Sports Matter Game
  • Her Hockey fundraiser
  • Sports Matter grants and assemblies

Events and Tournaments

  • Girls Classic
  • USHL Fall Classic


  • DICK'S Sporting Goods
  • Pittsburgh Penguins


Olivia Strothers
Manager, Partnership Marketing
DICK'S Sporting Goods

Eric Marshall
Sr. Manager, Partnership Marketing
DICK'S Sporting Goods

Mark Rooks
VP, Community Marketing and Sports Matter
DICK'S Sporting Goods

Aimee Watters
VP, Sports Matter, Community Marketing & Executive Director of The DICK’S Foundation
DICK'S Sporting Goods

Ed Plummer
Chief Marketing Officer
DICK'S Sporting Goods

Jim Britt
Executive Director
Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation

Jaden Lindo
Manager, Community Hockey Programs
Goose Island Beer Co.

Jack Tipton
SVP, Partnership Sales
Pittsburgh Pengiuns

Ross Miller
SVP, Partnership Marketing
Pittsburgh Pengiuns

Amy Wesson
Director, Partnership Marketing
Pittsburgh Pengiuns

Shannon Webster
Sr. Director, Youth Hockey
Pittsburgh Pengiuns

Celebrate in NYC

Join us for the 5th Hashtag Sports Awards™ on the evening of June 14, 2023 as we celebrate finalists and reveal the winners of this year's awards live during the show.