May 4, 1961 - June 5, 2014
Even if he imitated a professional wrestler, Cy Clark was an original.
Often donning a Penguins jersey with “Malkamania” on the name plate, a black-and-gold feather boa, a bandana and a burly Fu Manchu mustache, Mr. Clark regularly attended Penguins games dressed as Hulk Hogan.
“One day, we had a contest at work for Halloween. The way I was growing my moustache, I was looking in the mirror and was like “That looks a little like Hulk Hogan,’ Mr. Clark said in a 2011 interview with the Post-Gazette. "And considering the fact that I don’t have hair on the top of my head, I said I’ll do Hogan. Did the whole shebang. Dyed the mustache. The one manager walked up and busted out laughing and said ‘This is over. You won.” He didn’t even see anybody else. From that point out, I figured what the [heck]. I just said if Hulk Hogan can walk around 24 hour with a bandanna why can’t I?"
Mr. Clark died Thursday due to complications from cancer. He was 53.
A lifelong fan of the Penguins who attended the franchise’s first game in 1967, Mr. Clark developed a level of local fame with his appearances at games. A retired window washer from Verona, Mr. Clark had an assortment of personalized jerseys and signs which were directed at the likes of Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, Rangers left winger Sean Avery, Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, NBC broadcasters Mike Milbury, Pierre McGuire and many others connected to the NHL. More often than not, the signs were not complimentary.
One of Clark’s more notable jerseys was an Islanders Rick DiPietro jersey which replaced DiPietro’s name with “Fragile” in reference to the New York goaltender’s propensity to be injured. At an autograph signing in 2011, Mr. Clark presented the jersey to former Penguins backup goaltender Brent Johnson who broke several bones in Mr. DiPietro’s face during a fight late in the 2010-11 season. A picture of Mr. Clark, Mr. Johnson and the jersey went viral on various forms of social media.
“Oh man. I came up in line and I saw the look in his face. He was laughing,” said Mr. Clark. “He looked at me and said ‘You got it?’ I went in the bag, pulled it out and said ‘[Dang] right. How about a picture?’ That picture took off."
On more than one occasion, Clark’s antics drew national attention. The most famous (or infamous) of those moments came during a regular season game late in the 2011-12 campaign against the rival Flyers at Consol Energy Center. The latter stages of the contest had devolved into a line brawl which included coaches from both teams’ benches shouting at each other, Mr. Clark could be seen behind the Flyers bench screaming at the Philadelphia coaches and players. Rambunctious Flyers left winger Scott Hartnell noticed Clark and mocked him with Mr. Hogan’s signature hand gesture to his ear. The moment was captured on a national broadcast and has been well-documented on YouTube.
“He was two weeks out of the hospital from having lung surgery,” said Mr. Clark’s wife Joanne. “I was sitting on the couch watching the game on TV and I saw it. I said, ‘Oh no.’”
Much of Mr. Clark’s notoriety was fueled by a healthy following on social media, primarily through Facebook. When word of his death became known, several Penguins fans posted photos and memories of him on his Facebook wall.
“I have his [cell] phone with me and it’s just constantly beeping from people Tweeting and putting stuff on Facebook for him,” said Mrs. Clark. “It makes me feel well.”
The Penguins routinely featured Mr. Clark on the video screen at games in the Mellon Arena and Consol Energy Center.
“Cy was a passionate Penguins fan,” said Tom McMillan, vice president of communications for the Penguins. “He was one of a kind. He’ll be missed,”
In addition to his wife, Mr. Clark is survived by his mother, Anna Marie Clark of Monroeville, as well as two sisters, Evelyn Herrmann of Plum and Donna Spong of Macon, Ga.
Visitation will be from 1 to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday at Burket-Truby Funeral Home in Oakmont. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday at Riverside Church in Oakmont.
(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)