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by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

It’s that time of year again, only how about making some New Years resolutions that are fun to adhere to? December was full of wonderful skating events for the Ice Crew! I would like to propose an alternative to the traditional New Years resolutions as I reminisce on our exciting end of the year activities.

Resolution #1: Attend an ECHL Game.

We started the month of December with a trip to Wheeling, WV, where the Nailers (affiliates of the Penguins) were taking on the Florida Everblades. Eager to be a part of the game, we laced up our skates to clean the ice and watch a rousing ECHL game. As the action began, we were hoping the Nailers would score a goal for more than one reason: following the Nailers first goal, fans would shower the ice with stuffed animals to be donated to a worthy cause. None of us had seen a live “teddy bear toss,” but our task was similar to that of a hat trick: gather as many of these stuffed bears and take them off the ice as quickly as possible.

Another thrilling part of the game was being able to assist with the sled racing and sumo wrestling intermission games! I’m sure you can only imagine how fun these events were judging by the names of the games.

The game went into overtime when a last minute goal was made by a Nailer to tie the score. Despite the Nailers coming up short in the OT shoot out, we still had an incredible visit and truly enjoyed being there, skating and having the opportunity to meet the fans. The bus ride back with the Crew was an opportunity for us to catch up with one another, laugh and tell stories – a great end to a wonderful night.

Resolution #2: Skate at the Penguins Pond.

A week later, on December 14th we skated at the opening of the Penguins Pond as well as “Skate with Iceburgh” the following Saturday night. When we arrived at the outdoor rink we couldn’t stop goggling at the stunning view of the city from this perfect location. As the rink was revealed that Friday afternoon, we took the ice to skate with fans as well as a familiar face – Coach Dan Bylsma! Another recognizable face (err.. bird) was at the rink on the next evening – Iceburgh; we joined him and many other skaters for another fun experience at the Pens Pond.

Resolution #3: Support a Collegiate Hockey Team.

To end our December, we took part in the first ever Three Rivers Classic on the 28th and 29th of the month. Day 1 began with over 11,000 fans in attendance watching Robert Morris taking on Penn State at 4:30, and Ohio State playing Miami University at the 7:30 game. Both matchups ended in a shutout with RMU and Miami both beating their opponents. The final game to determine the champion of the inaugural Three Rivers Classic was played the next night with RMU edging out the Miami Redhawks 1-0.

It was great returning to CONSOL and performing duties which were similar to Penguins games: cleaning the ice three times a period, assisting with intermission games, crowd giveaways and tossing t-shirts to enthusiastic fans. We hope the Three Rivers Classic will become an annual event!

Although 2012 has ended, we are now eagerly awaiting the fun that 2013 will bring - especially our photo shoot in the beginning of January! Perhaps you will choose one of the above suggestions as a fun resolution for the New Year and we will see you soon!

Until next time,


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