NHL commissioner Gary Bettman took a tour of the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex site in Cranberry today and came away feeling he’d glimpsed the future of hockey training.
“Absolutely incredible,” Bettman said. “I don’t think there’s a facility like this in the world that has the combination of medical treatment, diagnosis, rehab, training, fitness, and the ice rinks themselves. And to have it staffed by University of Pittsburgh Medical Center physicians, and to have Gary Roberts here in terms of athlete training – this is going to be a revolutionary place.”
Scheduled to open in August 2015, the complex will, indeed, be the first of its kind – the first sports medicine facility to offer a specific focus on hockey-related performance training, injury prevention, and rehabilitation.
The new practice home of the Penguins will feature two NHL ice sheets, 16 locker rooms, and 50,000 square feet of a world-class medical center. There also will be a physical therapy gym overlooking the Penguins’ practice rink.
On-site medical services will be provided by experts in orthopaedic surgery, sports performance, primary care sports medicine, physical therapy, athletic training, nutrition, sports psychology and concussion and musculoskeletal radiology. The medical center will be fully equipped with MRI and CT-scan technology and a concussion clinic.
Former Penguin Gary Roberts will oversee the philosophy and off-ice training at the center.
Bettman’s tour was conducted by David Morehouse, CEO and President of the Penguins, and John Innocenti, President of UPMC, along with other Penguins and UPMC officials.
“It’s state of the art, its visionary, and it’s going to be a great place for the Penguins to train, to rehab, to practice,” Bettman said. “And if you’re a fan and you happen to need the facilities they have here, it’s going to be a great place to come as well.”
Bettman also was encouraged by the facility’s commitment to youth hockey. The complex will be home to the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite youth hockey program and will host numerous amateur, high school and college games, in addition to offering public skating.
“There’s probably nothing more important,” Bettman said. “Winning obviously is important for any team, but building the next generation of players and fans is what we’re all about.”