PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — People skated around the newest ice rink in Pittsburgh for the very first time on Monday.
Leaders with the city, Urban Redevelopment Authority and Pittsburgh Penguins cut the ribbon at the Hunt Armory in Shadyside.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Weather: Conditions Point To 2021 Not Being A White Christmas
The renovations took years of planning and several months of redevelopment, but the rink finally opened Monday for daily public skating sessions through March 1.
The Penguins covered the bill for the rink, which will also host hockey programs, leagues and diversity initiatives funded through the Penguins Foundation.
During the ribbon-cutting, Mayor Bill Peduto spoke about the conversations he previously had with the Penguins about not engaging with inner-city neighborhoods and creating opportunities to learn the sport of hockey outside of the suburbs.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Public Schools Investigating Threats Made Towards Numerous School Campuses
He expressed happiness that the request has finally been fulfilled.
And because of this rink, children enrolled in the Pittsburgh Ice Program will no longer have to ride 30-plus minutes to Cranberry to play hockey.
Both the mayor and the Penguins hope introducing children in the city to hockey will cause a ripple effect, breaking barriers in the sport and ultimately the NHL.
“They are out there basically playing hockey on their street and playing street hockey, not having that opportunity to be on the ice,” Peduto said.
“Of the major sports, hockey is the least diverse. That is what this project is all about. It’s about bringing the game closer to city neighborhoods, closer to the kids, and trying to break that color barrier,” Pittsburgh Penguins COO Kevin Acklin said.MORE NEWS: Holiday Shopping Tips: Identifying And Avoiding Online Shopping Scams
Mayor Peduto said he would next like to launch youth hockey programs in city schools, mentioning Westinghouse and Obama 6-12 as two possible starting points. He also said he would like to start coaching some of those programs in his retirement.