It's a nine-week training program that will bring together Black youth hockey players skating in the PAHL and PIHL.

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins are creating an academy designed to provide opportunities to Black youth hockey players.

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The Penguins created the Willie O’Ree Academy in honor of Willie O’Ree, who became the NHL’s first Black player in 1958 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 2018.

It’s a nine-week training program that will bring together Black youth hockey players skating in the PAHL and PIHL.

The academy starts on June 15 and will be open to boys and girls ages 10 to 18.

“We have a number of diversity programs that we will be rolling out in the next few months, but this one is special because it honors Willie’s legacy while creating unique growth opportunities for Black youth already playing hockey,” said David Morehouse, president and CEO of the Penguins in a press release.

“They’re skating for amateur and high school teams throughout the region, but they don’t really know each other. The academy gives them a chance to meet, get together, skate and train as a unit in the summer and, maybe most importantly, share experiences. We appreciate the fact that DICK’S Sporting Goods has stepped up again to help us in this important initiative.”

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You can learn more about the academy and how to apply here.