Pittsburgh's mascots take to the ice to mingle with their fans
More than 40 costumed characters overtook the ice at Schenley Park’s outdoor skating rink Saturday afternoon.
There were no triple axels or flying camels.
But there were smiles, high-fives and pictures.
“(I’m) happy because I’m excited,” skater Ruby Masterson said.
Six-year-old Ruby was one of several dozen people who had the opportunity to lace up and glide around with their favorite Steel City mascots during the rink’s annual Mascot Skate.
Now in its 32nd year, the Mascot Skate is essentially a meet-and-greet that allows people to see and interact with mascots.
“A lot of times when families go to the games the Pirate Parrot or Iceburgh is always three sections over. This is a chance for people to actually see their mascots up close and in person and have their photos taken with their favorite mascot,” said Bill Backa, Mascot Skate event manager.
This year, 44 mascots signed up to participate. Among them were Iceburgh (of the Penguins), the Pirate Parrot, Steely McBeam (Steelers), the Eat’n Park Smiley Cookie, the Chick-fil-A Cow and Rudy the Reindeer.
Some donned skates and zipped around the rink with ease. Others slowly shuffled across the ice without them.
“This is the most we’ve ever had,” Backa said.
Ruby went to her first hockey game in December and recently started taking learn-to-skate classes at the Alpha Ice Complex in Harmar, which is where her family found out about the event.
She was excited about seeing Iceburgh, who is definitely at home on the ice.
“It’s a great event,” said her dad, Rob Masterson. “There’s a lot of mascots. I didn’t know we had this many mascots that skated.”
Callie Chen, 4, was more than happy to greet the characters.
She eagerly waved as they passed her, and high-fived the Chatham University Cougar and Steely McBeam.
“I think she’s pretty happy, and I’m happy if she’s happy,” said her dad, Jesse Chen.
Jon Kozarian played the Chick-fil-A Cow.
He didn’t wear skates, choosing instead to walk across the ice in just his suit.
He said he was looking forward to taking pictures with kids, which he finds fun.
“I love taking pictures,” he said. “I smile, too, in the mascot. Even though it’s pointless, but I do it anyway because it’s just fun.”
Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at 724-226-4702, email@example.com or via Twitter @maddyczebstrib.