The Pittsburgh Penguins “Hockey in July” is always one of the most exciting weeks of the year, and consists of various events for players of all skill levels. Throughout the week in Consol Energy Center, there was a Mite Jamboree Tournament, a training camp featuring Dan Bylsma, a Hockey is for Everyone camp, an NHL Prospect development camp, and on-ice training sessions for Pittsburgh Penguins Elite teams.
To kick off the week, a Mite Jamboree Tournament was hosted and sixteen local teams competed. Having the privilege to skate on the Penguins ice was an electrifying experience for the Mite players and it created unforgettable memories. At times it was hard to tell who was more excited, the parents or the kids!
During the training camp featuring Dan Bylsma, participating players received on-ice instruction, off-ice training, and video sessions. As a part of the Penguins Hockey School, the camp was offered to 32 participants at the Squirt, Pee Wee, Bantam and Midget age levels. A portion of each child’s registration benefited the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
The Consol Energy Center also hosted a Prospect Development Camp, for those who are new to the Penguins squad. Among this group of players were Simon Despres, Derrick Pouliot, and Olli Maata. This week served as an introduction to the players, to show them what it is like to be a part of the Pittsburgh Penguins Organization. The players participated in on-ice conditioning, aloang with off-ice training and a scrimmage that was open to the public.
Local “Hockey is for Everyone” programs also had the opportunity to get their teams on the ice this week, and all three teams of the program were able to participate in a skate - Pittsburgh I.C.E (Inclusion Creates Equality), the Mighty Penguins, and the Steel City Icebergs. The Pittsburgh ICE gives children (ages 5-18) a chance to play hockey for those who might never have the opportunity to experience the game. The Mighty Penguins team provides a chance for physically challenged kids to play sled hockey. The Steel City Icebergs are part of an adaptive program for children and adults that have developmental disabilities, and the program teaches them how to play ice hockey.
Pittsburgh Penguins Elite teams also got the chance to take the ice this week, giving them the opportunity to sharpen their skills on the same ice the Penguins play on. All in all this successful week gave many youth hockey players the opportunity of a lifetime. Players ranging in skill level Mite to NHL filled the arena with smiles, and no one left without learning something helpful.