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Upcoming Summer Clinics

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

The weeks are flying by, and while many young players are enjoying the summer months, the upcoming hockey season will be here before you know it. Lucky for Pittsburgh-area youth, the Penguins Hockey Development program offers several clinics through the months of July and August to fit every player.

The Summer Skate and Skills clinic, which will be held at Mt. Lebanon Ice Rink, will be a reinforcement of essential skating, shooting, passing and stick handling skills in the form of Sunday sessions. The clinic offers a low player-to-instructor ratio, with individualized instruction within a group setting. Also, head instructor Cliff Loya will employ a smaller ice surface of the studio rink to increase puck touches, which will help hone greater hockey sense. The clinic is open to squirt (ages 9-10), pee wee (11-12), and bantam (13-14) players. Sunday sessions begin July 28th and run through August 25th.

The Summer Instructional 3-on-3 is not your typical 3-on-3 league. Hockey is a game of creating opportunities in small spaces. Full ice 3-on-3 does not allow players to simulate those situations, so the solution is small area games! Small area games, playing cross-ice, ensures the players will continuously be in proximity to the puck and to other players. Head instructor Cliff Loya will reinforce quick decision making and sound puck presence for skaters, while a superb cast of local goaltending experts will help goaltenders experience realistic shots, not wave after wave of breakaways. Instruction takes place while players are taking their turn away from the small area game surface and also during game action. This helps guarantee NO time is wasted on the ice. The 6 bi-weekly sessions, which begin on July 6th and 7th and continue on the 13th, 14th, 20th, and 23rd, is open to all squirt/pee wee players(9-12) and groups will be broken up by skill.

The Defensive Skills Clinic will be July 12-15 at Bladerunners in Warrendale and is designed to help defensemen improve their game by honing such skills as clearing the zone, proper body position, playing in front of the net, working along the boards, poke checking, angling, using your body and proper stick-work. A limited number of spots are available.

The Skills and Power Skating Clinic is build around the foundation of improving each area of a young player’s game, along with helping to mold their skating along the form of power skating. The program revolves around shooting, stick handling, and forward and backhand work for each player’s skill set. For skating, Loya will mold the base of the younger player’s skating skills, both forward and backward, edgework, and the art of a quick first step. The clinic, which will be held at Bladerunners in Warrendale, PA starting July 19th-22nd and July 23rd-25th at Bladerunners in Harmarville, is open to all mite (5-8) and squirt/pee wee (9-12) players. Limited forward spots are available at each session so do not hesitate.

The Stick Handling Clinic, which is being held at Bladerunners in Harmarville July 16th-18th, helps mite/squirt (5-10) and pee wee/bantam (11-13) learn the proper techniques of stick handle and not to over stick handle. Loya will help coach agility drills to improve dexterity, along with controlling the stick with your top hand, sweep checking/poke checking, and soft hands for taking a pass. The clinic will teach skaters to NOT avoid your backhand and how to handle the puck in tight traffic, along with puck protection.

The Penguins Hockey Development Goalie Clinic, lead by a local group of goaltending experts, is a weekly session clinic that will help goaltenders focus in on the upcoming season and develop their game to the best of their abilities. The program focuses in on skating and mobility, positioning, depth, save selection, rebound control, post-save recovery, and reading/reacting to game situations. The clinic is open to all players, ages 5-17, and runs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, starting on July 8th.

The Checking Clinic, which will be held at Bladerunners in Harmarville July 23rd-25th, will help players learn the proper techniques of hockey checks and how to deliver a clean check. Cliff Loya will help reinforce keeping elbows down and staying within the rules. Strategies for avoiding checks, techniques for taking a check, and playing safe and clean while playing aggressively will all be discussed. The clinic is open to all pee wee players moving up to Bantam in the upcoming season (12) and Bantam-Midget/JV-Varsity (13-17) players.

The Skate and Shoot Clinic, which will be held August 9th-11th at Mt. Lebanon Ice Rink, will focus in mainly on the offensive side of the puck for the majority of the clinic. Loya will instruct players on the importance of net presence, finding the open space, puck protection, the use of a player’s forehand and backhand, passing/give and go, one-timers, initial burst, and skating skills (including edgework and quick first step). There are only a limited number of forward sports available, so do not hesitate.

Lastly, the Focus Clinic, being held at Mt. Lebanon Ice Rink at the beginning of August, helps players focus-in on the upcoming season with a very close instructional based few days. The clinic offers a low player-to-instructor ratio, with individualized instruction within a group setting.

For specific dates and camp availability, please contact Mark Shuttleworth at

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