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Hot Shots offers dek hockey

| Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

When Mario Lemieux was a kid, he dominated every league that he ever played in while growing up in Canada.

After being drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins with the number one overall draft pick in 1984, Lemieux transformed the hockey world and made Pittsburgh a hockey hot bed.

Kids everywhere wanted to be like the big guy, and rinks in and around the city of Pittsburgh seemed to spring up out of nowhere.

Since then, those kids have grown and now have kids of their own, and the popularity of hockey has continued to grow at a record pace.

Sidney Crosby has accepted the torch handed down by Lemieux, and has been instrumental in helping kids all over western Pennsylvania get a chance to chase their dreams and learn to play the coolest game on earth.

But some parents are reluctant to let their sons or daughters hit the ice.

Many feel that the equipment is way too expensive, or, they simply do not want any part of 5 a.m. practices.

And some just do not want their children involved in some of the hazards involved with a hard piece of frozen rubber and a stick.

Well, good news has arrived for all of those parents and any other parent who wants their kid to play hockey.

Hot Shots Indoor Sports Arena is set to offer dek hockey to any child ages 5-12.

Dek hockey is played on sneakers and is played in a climate-controlled environment. There is no checking allowed in dek hockey, so the chance for injury to a kid is greatly reduced.

The seven-week, learn-to-play program will begin April 6 and run through mid-May. The April 6 practice is mandatory so that the staff at Hot Shots can evaluate the skill level of each child and place them in the correct age divisions.

The first three weeks will concentrate on teaching the basics of the game, including stick-handling, passing and shooting, and basic game play.

There will be three weeks of game play, and on the final Saturday, a skills competition will be held and trophies awarded.

This is an excellent opportunity for a child to become part of one of the fastest growing sports in North America.

The staff is very excited to bring this opportunity to the community, and hopes that they can develop the kids and to develop a league that runs year round, giving all kids an opportunity to grow and learn the game they love.

For more information or to register a child, contact C.J. King at 724-547-5700.

Mark King is a freelance writer.