Duo brings dek hockey facility to South Hills
TribLIVE Sports Videos
A business venture that was 20 years in the making is finally coming to fruition in the South Hills.
When Al Ernst and Joe Smith were in their early 20s, they envisioned taking advantage of the local hockey boom and building a facility of their own. But financial hiccups and property setbacks stifled their progress.
"Hockey is so huge since (Mario) Lemieux came out in '84; it just keeps growing," said Ernst, the CEO of South Hills Dek Hockey. "We needed a rink in the South Hills. Everybody leaves here and goes and plays in other places.
"We found a piece of land and the money was right. Now, here we are."
South Hills Dek Hockey opens its doors this weekend as it hosts a grand opening with league registration on Worthington Avenue in Jefferson Hills.
"We just want to give kids a place to go and learn teamwork in the great sport of hockey," said Smith, president. "We want to get more kids involved. Hockey is such a great sport. Al and I are both very capable of teaching them how to play."
The facility houses one regulation-size dek with a top-of-the-line surface and a state-of-the-art Fiberglass board system around the rink. There will be a pro shop and plenty of parking. Ernst said the long-term goals are to continue to expand.
"We'd like to get a sizable count of teams to explore all eight different age groups, and we want to get a full league so people can compete," Ernst said. "Within the next year to year-and-a-half, we want to build a second dek on the property.
"With that though, it would be a smaller dek than the normal size. We'd like to promote more young kids coming in and playing."
In order to participate, all players must wear shin pads, gloves and elbow pads, and children ages 15 and under must wear a helmet with a cage or shield.
The organization is having an introductory five-game season with a single-elimination playoff format to give people a sample of how the facility will be run. The cost is $40 per player.
One of Ernst's long-term goals is to hold clinics and developmental sessions for younger players who are just getting involved in the sport.
"I coach ice hockey with the SHAHA organization out in Bethel Park, so I'll probably start some developmental sessions for little kids through SHAHA and USA Hockey," Ernst said. "I have Level 3 certification, so people will know they have someone with experience to develop that into the skills. "
For more information regarding this weekend's event, visit www.southhillsdekhockey.com .Additional Information:
If you go
South Hills Dek Hockey registration will be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call 412-405-9579, or email email@example.com .
Show commenting policy
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.
- Wal-Mart plan ignites election in McCandless
- Mt. Lebanon wants to update master plan for Uptown district
- Moon Area aims to ease parents’ transportation worries
- Cabbage contest engages Western Pa. 3rd-graders in gardening
- Dormont Council points to ex-manager for deficit
- Foundation makes online plea to preserve Coraopolis Railroad Station
- Bethel Park voters get chance to change charter