Share This Page

Public hockey rink to open next to Heinz Field

Outdoor hockey is coming to the North Shore a week before the National Hockey League's much-anticipated Winter Classic on New Year's Day.

The public rink will open on Christmas Eve in a parking lot adjacent to Heinz Field. It will feature public skates and youth hockey games.

The new rink is part of the Penguins' plan to create a "hockey carnival" atmosphere before their nationally televised outdoor game Jan. 1 against the Washington Capitals. Penguins officials declined to comment.

The NHL will begin constructing a rink Dec. 23 at Heinz Field after the Steelers' final home game of regular-season football.

The public rink will stay up at least through the Classic and possibly for several days afterward if the Steelers do not host a playoff game.

The Winter Classic games in Chicago and Boston featured public skates on outdoor rinks. The hockey games were played at the baseball venues of Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, respectively.

The Penguins competed in the inaugural Winter Classic in 2008 in Buffalo.

A "Skate with Santa" on Christmas Eve and a New Year's Eve-themed skate will take place on the public rink.

The youth hockey tournament will be a first for the Winter Classic. Two Pittsburgh Elite bantam teams, including the squad coached by Penguins principal owner Mario Lemieux, will participate, along with the Washington Jr. Capitals and squads from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, and Magnitogorsk, Russia: the respective hometowns of Penguins stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Cole Harbour and Magnitogorsk will face off on the public rink. Crosby and Malkin said they want to attend if their Penguins schedule permits.

High school and amateur league games also will be played on the public rink.

NHL officials met Wednesday at Heinz Field to review plans. The NHL is in charge of the game, but the Penguins, Steelers, public officials and businesses are developing events leading up to the Winter Classic.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.