Penguins Built the First Public Rink in City in Decades for Free Skating and Hockey Diversity Programs for City Residents
The Pittsburgh Penguins have concluded the inaugural season of skating and hockey operations at Hunt Armory Ice Rink in Shadyside, where the Penguins hosted months of free hockey and diversity programming for children from nearby Pittsburgh neighborhoods during the winter months.
The free introductory hockey programs were provided to over 750 children, and over 15,000 city residents and guests enjoyed public skating and hockey games at the rink from its opening November 26 through its closing February 27.
The ice rink was built inside the historic Hunt Armory through an agreement the Penguins negotiated with the City of Pittsburgh and the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, and was the first public hockey rink built in the city in almost 25 years.
All installation and operations costs were covered by the Penguins at no public expense.
As operations conclude for the first season, the Penguins have already approached the Mayor’s Office about making a longer-term commitment to operate the ice rink at Hunt Armory for the next winter season, and beyond.
Construction of the rink was supported by grants from the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and the National Hockey League – NHL Players’ Association fund supporting diversity in hockey. The Penguins built the Hunt Armory ice rink as a platform for the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation to offer programs for local children including Learn to Skate; Learn to Play; Try Hockey for Free; and After School Skills.
“The Pittsburgh Penguins are fully committed to making the game of ice hockey reflect the rich cultural and racial diversity of the city of Pittsburgh,” said Kevin Acklin, Chief Operating Officer of the Penguins. “Our entire purpose with building the Hunt Armory Ice Rink is to overcome obstacles and build ladders of opportunity for kids who grow up in city neighborhoods, who don’t have access to equipment or otherwise would need to travel to suburban ice rinks 15 miles away from city neighborhoods.”
All activities promoted affordable or free public skating for neighborhoods and organizations, and included partnerships with Pittsburgh Public Schools, Citiparks, and outreach to more than 100 neighborhood community groups within neighborhoods surrounding the Armory. The Penguins hosted 4,500 kids and parents at skating parties with PPS, Citiparks and the community.
The Pittsburgh Warriors, a Veterans hockey group, used the rink for weekly practices for 50 players, which is particularly of importance to veterans who served at Hunt Armory.
The Penguins strongly encourage fans and city residents to share their experiences about the Hunt Armory Ice Rink online at huntarmoryicerink.com, as team officials are in active discussions with city officials about hosting the rink again next winter and possibly for years to come.