By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Penguins have been awarded a grant from the NHL as well as the National Hockey League Players’ Association to support diversity in hockey and create access to the game for youth players of color in city neighborhoods.

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The money from the grant comes after the launch of the Penguins’ Willie O’Ree Academy launch and it will focus on repurposing the Hunt Armory into an ice rink.

With the grant, it furthers discussions between the Penguins, the city, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority to build a seasonal hockey rink inside the 46,500 square-foot Hunt Armory in Shadyside.

This would become the first public rink built within the city limits in decades.

The rink would operate from November to March and be the headquafrters for the Penguins’ Hockey Diversity Program. It also will include a new middle school hockey training academy.

As the plans move forward, the cost of rink installation and operations will be supported by the Penguins and come at no cost to the public.

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“The Penguins have been committed for decades to giving back to the Pittsburgh community, and we are now one of the leaders of the League’s efforts to improve diversity in the game of hockey, and these investments and programs are at the center of that mission,” said Penguins president and CEO David Morehouse.

The Penguins plan to have the rink at the Hunt Armory by Thanksgiving.

In the meantime, they are planning community engagement efforts this summer.

A rink at Hunt Armory would provide an inclusive and expedited hockey pathway for city youth and it will also be open for public recreational skating.

Along with the youth hockey development plans, it will also serve as a home for local programs, including Central Catholic High School, Chatham University, and a middle school hockey program to be established with Sacred Heart Elementary School and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

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Meetings have been scheduled for the week of July 26. An in-person presentation with a Q&A will be held Monday, July 26 at the Calvary Episcopal Church at 6 p.m. A virtual presentation with Q&A will be held on Webex with the password Hunt728. That starts at 6 p.m.