The Pittsburgh Penguins have teamed up with the Pittsburgh Hornets amateur program and Dick’s Sporting Goods to create a new amateur hockey program in the Pittsburgh area.
The “Pittsburgh Penguins Elite” will feature 13 teams playing at the AAA level – eight boys teams and five girls teams.
The teams will hold tryouts in April and will start play in the fall of 2012. All the teams will use the Penguins’ name, logo and colors.
“Part of our overall vision of supporting local youth hockey has been to create an elite Pittsburgh Penguins youth program that would attract top players in different age groups, offering an excellent environment to develop skills, teach teamwork and compete against top teams from other areas,” said David Morehouse, CEO and President of the Pittsburgh Penguins. “The Pittsburgh Amateur Hockey League (PAHL) and Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League (PIHL) do such a great job of growing the game here, and there are a number of good amateur programs. But we thought it made sense to have a AAA program directly affiliated with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“The opportunity to partner with one of the top AAA programs in the country in the Pittsburgh Hornets and one of the most socially-conscious, sports-oriented businesses in Dick’s Sporting Goods is one that excites us. We think we can do great things together as Pittsburgh Penguins Elite.”
NHL Hall of Famer and Pittsburgh Penguins alum Bryan Trottier and NHL referee Stephen Walkom are part of the new program’s board, while former Penguin Mark Recchi will be part of the coaching staff.
The Pittsburgh Penguins Elite teams will compete in the Tier I Elite Hockey League that includes the Philadelphia Junior Flyers, the Buffalo Junior Sabres, the DC Capitals, the Dallas AAA Stars, the Phoenix Junior Coyotes and the Los Angeles Junior Kings, among others.
“The Pittsburgh Hornets are proud to join forces with the NHL Penguins and Dick’s Sporting Goods to create this exciting new amateur program for players in the Pittsburgh area,” said Jan Lehigh, president of the Hornets. “The Hornets program has had a long tradition of developing young players both on and off the ice – including many NCAA Division 1, national team and NHL players – and this collaborative effort with the Pens and Dick’s will only enhance that development now that we are Pittsburgh Penguins Elite.”
“Dick’s Sporting Goods is thrilled to be the title sponsor of the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite program. At Dick’s, we are passionate about youth sports and committed to helping young athletes achieve their goals of playing at the highest level” said Lauren Hobart, Dick’s Sporting Goods Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “Our involvement with the Penguins’ Elite program is a great opportunity for us to help athletes in our home town of Pittsburgh, and we look forward to seeing the team come together and thrive.”
The eight boys teams will play in the following age groups: Midget (1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997 birth years); Bantam (1998 and 1999), Pee Wee (2000 and 2001) and Squirt (2002 and 2003).
The five girls teams will be 19-and-under, 16-and-under, 14-and-under, 12-and-under and 10-and-under.
The boys teams will practice and play home games at RMU Island Sports Center. The girls teams will practice and play home games at both RMU Island Sports Center and Shadyside Academy.
Pittsburgh Penguins Elite Boys will host the 2013 USA Hockey Tier 1 National Championships in the Under-18, Under-16 and Under-14 age groups at RMU Island Sports Center.
Pittsburgh Penguins Elite Girls will host an annual Thanksgiving Classic – one of the largest AAA Girls tournaments in the US and Canada, attracting more than 100 teams.
For Pittsburgh Penguins Elite tryout schedules, please click here