Renziehausen Park will house dek hockey rink by Project Power Play

| Thursday, June 5, 2014, 4:21 a.m.

Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and Highmark executives met in McKeesport's Renziehausen Park on Wednesday to finalize plans for one of five Project Power Play dek hockey rinks planned for summer construction in the Greater Pittsburgh region.

Project Power Play is a $2.3 million initiative to build a dozen dek hockey rinks in Pittsburgh and surrounding communities over the course of four years, with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield committing $1.5 million and the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation covering the remaining $800,000.

The project began in 2012 with rinks in Banksville Park and Lewis Park in Pittsburgh. In 2013, rinks were added to Brookline Memorial Park in Pittsburgh, Hosanna House Sherwood Event Center, Riverside Park and Richland Community Park in the suburbs.

“We are extremely excited to be part of the next round of communities to have this state-of-the-art facility become a part of our city,” McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said. “We couldn't think of a better location than Renzie Park, which already is a tremendous asset not only to McKeesport but to the whole region.”

Cherepko believes that McKeesport's rink, a multi-purpose court measuring 155 feet by 75 feet, will be another draw for folks across the region to make their way into McKeesport.

Appropriate for use in dek hockey, soccer or lacrosse, it will feature a premier dasher board system, a Daktronics scoreboard, player benches covered by a metal shelter, a penalty box, goals and start-up dek hockey equipment.

Highmark Health executive vice president Dan Onorato said the rinks are proving to be community assets in every location. Focused on developing healthy communities, Highmark's wellness platform is furthered through Project Power Play.

“It fits into our vision about healthy living — getting kids outside and getting them active,” Onorato said. “Hockey is exciting. It's fast-paced. We want to put our money into programs that will be successful and kids will love, and we've seen it first-hand here.”

Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation president Dave Soltesz said the Highmark partnership enhanced the Project Power Play goal of promoting physical well-being to kids of all ages. With hockey gaining popularity in each passing professional season, there is a growing need for youth and community facilities, he said.

“Each dek has led to the creation of local youth associations with between 200-300 youngsters utilizing the facilities in organized programs,” Soltesz said. “Pick-up games, clinics and open times fill the remainder of their schedules.”

With McKeesport's rink construction planned for early August, city public works crews will begin to prepare the site in coming weeks. The city will form a McKeesport Hockey Association, including an operating board of community volunteers, to organize league games and other activities.

Cherepko said there will be opportunities for youth and adult games, community partnerships with entities such as Penn State Greater Allegheny and Auberle, and practice arrangements for regional ice hockey programs. Anyone interested in participating is asked to call the mayor's office at 412-675-5020, ext. 605.

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or

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