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PIHL Concludes Outdoor Charity Series

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins
Several inches of snow were removed from the ice when the ice was cleaned.
Pittsburgh might have been pelted with a huge snowstorm on Friday night, but that didn’t prevent the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League from concluding the 3rd Annual Outdoor Charity Series at South Park Ice Rink.

Well, sort of.

Mother Nature did eventually force the postponement of the double header between Thomas Jefferson and Montour, and Canon McMillan and Bethel Park, but it didn’t prevent the teams from raising more money for charity and playing a little exhibition hockey.

Thomas Jefferson and Montour dropped the puck in the first period, but after a whacky sequence where a second puck emerged from underneath the snow to create utter confusion on the ice, play was halted at the 12:34 mark – 2:26 into the contest.

“That was nuts,” TJ defenseman William Boger said. “We didn’t know what to do. Nobody knew which puck to go for. We didn’t know whether it came from the stands or what. That was good stuff.”

“I didn’t exactly think it was going to be like this,” TJ forward Robert Landucci said. “It would have been good to have a few flurries but this was a little too much. It was fun while it lasted.”

Unfortunately, after both zambonis removed roughly two inches of snow, the referees and both head coaches decided it was in everyone’s best interests to call the game.

“We did our best to try to play this,” PIHL commissioner Ed Sam said. “It was a great ambiance as far as the snow coming down. It just came down too fast.”

Players on both teams, however, refused to be deprived of their chance to play outdoors. They agreed to play a one-period exhibition game, allowing for everyone to at least take in a sample of the outdoor experience.

Each team scored once during the exhibition period, but the highlight was both teams skating and jumping onto each other in celebration at the conclusion in a tremendous showing of sportsmanship and youthful exuberance.

“We were just trying to have fun and be good sports about it,” Landucci said. “It was a fun experience.”

Thomas Jefferson and Montour jumped onto each other in celebration after playing a one-period exhibition.
“Playing out here is not something everybody gets to do,” Boger said. “We had practice out here the other night and we loved it. We were having a blast playing. There is nothing like playing outside.”

Although the PIHL wasn’t able to play Friday’s games, the night was still a success as all the proceeds raised from the game benefited the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The PIHL also scored big last week when two games on Jan. 29, and one on Jan. 25, all at North Park Ice Rink, raised significant funds in support of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the PIHL Paul Sciullo Memorial Scholarship Fund. 

Not only was money donated in support of all these great causes, but the players participating all seems to take great pride in playing for something bigger than two points in the standings, which makes Sam proud to hear.

“I think that is something that a lot of people don’t realize,” Sam said. “These kids realize they are playing for breast cancer or diabetes or Paul Sciullo. They really do realize that and they get it. That is really heartwarming. They don’t just want to be outside – they understand the benefits of it.”

Sam said that even though Friday’s games could not be played as scheduled, and will have to be made up indoors on a later date, the Outdoor Charity Series was once again a huge hit, and it will resume again during the 2010-11 season.

“The other games were great,” Sam said. “Everything worked out for sure. We look forward to doing this again next year.”

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