Pittsburgh Penguins Bring Hockey to Obama

Viola Aderholt (Freshman)

Hockey is historically underrepresented in urban areas. The Pittsburgh Penguins have been trying to combat this with initiatives that aim to boost city hockey playing, including partially funding the Hunt Armory Ice Rink in Shadyside. They have been trying to utilize the space to host programs that teach kids to skate and play hockey. This has been started here at Obama with the middle school students. Every Thursday the middle school Obama hockey program takes place at Hunt Armory. This initiative is led by Jaden Lindo, the manager of community hockey programs of the Pittsburgh Penguins. “I love what I do, I think it’s great to be able to give back to the community and provide hockey and skating to so many kids in the inner city that never would have had the opportunity to do so,” said Lindo. 

The middle school hockey team in their gear at Hunt Armory Ice Rink

In the program each child is given a bag with all the necessary equipment and are provided with rental skates from Hunt Armory every session. This ensures students aren’t required to pay for equipment or skates. The program is made so that every student has a chance to experience a new sport without spending money on equipment. 6th Grader Alice Busby said, “I definitely wouldn’t be playing hockey now without Obama’s program, I just never would’ve thought of it.” She and most of the other kids are first time hockey players, and are developing new skills on the ice. Others such as Draco Lisby have more experience. “I’ve been playing deck hockey for 3 years but this is my first time playing on ice,” said Lisby. Students in the hockey program are improving week by week. 6th grader Destiny Reed said “my favorite experience has been learning how to skate, I had only skated once before and am getting so much better.” 

Overall the program has been a huge success expanding the sport to inner city kids at Obama. “Hunt armory is the only public ice rink in city limits and we want kids to be able to have the opportunity to play hockey,” said Lindo. “We hope to be able to do this not only with Obama but with more city schools in the future.”

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