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Richland dek hockey rink opening set

| Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Hockey fans can help kick off public use of the new dek hockey rink in Richland Park.

Iceburgh, the Pittsburgh Penguins' mascot, is among guests expected at an open house with food and games from noon to 3 p.m. Nov. 2 at the new 155- by 75-foot rink off Van Velsor Drive.

Activities will include relay races, skills contests and a goal-shooting competition. A radar gun will be available to time slap shots.

A former Penguins hockey player also is expected to attend the open house and celebration, according to Richland Supervisor Barton Miller.

“I hope we have more kids than we know what to do with,” Miller said. “I hope we have a great turnout.”

Township officials also hope to welcome many adults willing to help form a local youth hockey league.

“We're going to form a committee,” Miller said. “The committee would run a league. We would need a president, a secretary, a treasurer.”

The township also seeks players, ages 4 to 14, plus volunteer coaches, team managers, referees and scorekeepers.

“We want to provide some clinics for coaches and refs,” Miller said.

The new dek hockey rink is among four slated for construction in 2013, part of a $2.1 million program — Project Power Play — to build a dozen dek hockey courts in the Pittsburgh area by 2016.

Highmark provided $1.5 million for Project Power Play. The Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation contributed $600,000.

Last year, Miller read a newspaper story about the Penguins' efforts to boost youth interest in hockey by reaching out to communities through Project Power Play.

Miller gave the article to Richland Township Manager Dean Bastianini, who then phoned the foundation for more information.

Project Power Play aims to take advantage of the Penguins' popularity by providing safe areas for youths to play games under the supervision of established organizations, according to the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation.

“We definitely want to introduce kids to hockey,” said Dave Soltesz, president of the foundation.

To volunteer for Richland's forthcoming youth hockey league, call 724-443-5921.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or ddeasy@tribweb.com.

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