Robinson facility keeps hockey players sharp
Youth hockey players need to look beyond their coaches if they want to advance in the increasingly competitive sport, a local youth hockey official said.
“The sport is growing and … if you want to get to the next step, you can't rely on going to your normal weekly practices and games. You have to go on your own,” said Todd Naylor, president of the Pittsburgh Amateur Hockey League, which is for young players.
The owners of a new off-ice hockey training facility in Robinson are aiming to help youths be competitive.
Peters residents Christopher and Michelle Jones opened Overtime Hockey LLC on Dec. 14 in a 6,000-square-foot space in the Parkway View Business Park in Robinson.
The facility includes two skating treadmills; a RapidShot Hockey Training System, which shoots pucks and measures the user's accuracy, shot speed and reaction time; and a 48- by 30-foot synthetic ice rink, Christopher Jones said.
The RapidShot system and synthetic ice make the center unique in this region, he said. After seeing a similar facility in Detroit, he thought Overtime Hockey would succeed in the Pittsburgh area. Synthetic ice rinks are made of slick, plastic panels upon which players can skate.
“And also, I'm a youth hockey coach, and there is a struggle finding enough ice time for the kids to practice and get better,” Christopher Jones said.
Overtime, with a base membership package that costs $45 a month, has about 30 members, he said. The center has five instructors certified by amateur ice hockey governing body USA Hockey.
Mt. Lebanon resident Joe Thuransky's son, Sam, 10, started playing on his first team in the fall, with the South Hills Amateur Hockey Association. He recently started training at Overtime Hockey.
“There's no outside interference … there's not kids in line rushing you. You're one-on-one with the instructor and the machine, and he really enjoyed it,” said Thuransky, 48.
A former youth hockey player, Thuransky said youth hockey has evolved from a sport in which it used to be easy for a child to join a team.
“Now, it is very difficult to get on a team, and it doesn't matter where you're at. It is so hard to get on a team because there are so many kids now involved in hockey,” he said.
While youth players have been dropping in number in some areas, the Pittsburgh region has seen growth, Naylor said.
The Pittsburgh Amateur Hockey League's membership has risen about 49 percent to 5,206 players since 2000 because of star Penguins player Sidney Crosby's influence and USA Hockey's American Development Model, designed to get younger people playing at a reduced cost, Naylor said.
Hockey instructor Robert Gergerich said he has run weeklong hockey training schools through his International Hockey College at rented rinks in the United States, Canada and Austria for about 30 years.
“In my business in the early ‘90s, there was a big increase because of Mario Lemieux and also the Stanley Cups, and then it kind of dropped off a little bit. And now it's back up because of Sidney,” he said.
In August, Gergerich opened the IHC Hockey Training Center in St. Clair Fitness in Upper St. Clair, he said. With a skating ramp and synthetic ice, the center is the only one of its kind in the area, he said.
Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Job prospects drawing workers to Western Pennsylvania
- Hill District leaders irked as Penguins submit former Civic Arena site plan to city
- City’s plan for Strip flummoxes vendors
- $5M grant sought for trade center site near Pittsburgh airport
- Judge denies request to lift gag order in Ford case
- Family becomes ‘forever’
- City of Pittsburgh detective, 2 boys finalize adoption before judge
- Google grants teachers’ school supply wishes
- Local groups hope NFL lends support
- State awards 6 Western Pennsylvania schools mentoring grants
- Marshall land parcel along Route 910 eyed as park site