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Hockey lover drove sport's local expansion

| Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
OBIT, obits, Obituary: Dale Rossetti, 56, of Churchill died Friday, Nov. 2, 2012.

Dale Rossetti was a man on a hockey mission long before the Pittsburgh Penguins raised interest in the game to fever pitch by winning three Stanley Cup Championships.

“He was all about helping children,” said his wife of 20 years, Laurie Rossetti. “He wanted to see more of them playing hockey. ... He spent his entire life in Pittsburgh building new avenues for kids.”

Dale R. Rossetti of Churchill died on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, of prostate cancer. He was 56.

“Dale was a true hockey pioneer. ... He was promoting the game with great passion back when almost no one else was doing it,” said Tom McMillan, vice president of communications for the Penguins. “He literally loved being around rinks. A lot of the growth and success of local youth and amateur hockey was built on the shoulders of guys like Dale.”

Director of operations for the Soffer Organization, a Pittsburgh-based real estate developer, Mr. Rossetti was a driving force behind opening more rinks and providing opportunities for people to play the game he loved. He served for three years as bank-appointed receiver of the Valley Sports Complex, New Kensington, until it found a new owner.

“He spent many long hours trying to keep the ... complex operational when it was placed in receivership,” said Carole Woodrow, president of the North Hills Amateur Hockey Association. “Our organization is deeply indebted to Dale for his extensive effort.”

Mr. Rossetti held management positions at a number of ice rinks in Western Pennsylvania, including the Island Sports Center on Neville Island, which Robert Morris bought in 2003.

This year, the Penguins recognized Mr. Rossetti with the first Founders and Builders Award for his work in amateur hockey.

“He was one of the best ... a well-respected ice rink man in the industry,” said Dave Hanson, executive director of the RMU Island Sports Center.

Mr. Rossetti loved golf and, in 1987, made his first hole in one at Meadowink Golf Course in Murrysville.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Helen D. Rossetti of Turtle Creek.

A remembrance of Mr. Rossetti and his life will take place at a later date. Herbert R. King Jr. Funeral Home Inc. in Hampton is handling arrangements.

Mr. Rossetti's family requests contributions be made in his memory to the Mario Lemieux Foundation, 816 Fifth Ave., 6th Floor, Pittsburgh PA, 15219.

Craig Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or csmith@tribweb.com.

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