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Hockey

Dek Hockey Leagues Thriving in Metropolis

Renzie’s rink has turn into an area landmark — and successful story

By Jason A. Mignanelli
The Tube Metropolis Almanac
June 22, 2021
Posted in: McKeesport and Area Information, Sports activities

Further reporting by Kristen Keleschenyi


 
When the McKeesport Dek Hockey Affiliation introduced in March that they might have grownup leagues within the spring, curiosity was excessive after a yr of COVID-19 restrictions. Though youth leagues had been postponed, enrollment within the grownup leagues flourished.

The rink supplied a dose of normalcy for adults in the course of the pandemic. Not solely was the rink a location for adults to collect safely to get some much-needed train, however it additionally gave gamers a possibility for fellowship.

“It’s been an incredible expertise,” stated Andy Miller, a Glassport resident who performs within the grownup leagues. “I began enjoying right here about two years in the past. Now, I’m normally right here three or 4 nights per week enjoying video games.”

McKeesport’s dek hockey rink, positioned in Renziehausen Park, was one among solely 12 donated within the Pittsburgh space by the Pittsburgh Penguins. The unique floor, proven right here in a 2017 picture, has lately been changed. (Photograph courtesy McKeesport Dek Hockey Affiliation, by way of Fb)


Town’s dek hockey affiliation has turn into an area success story and made the rink, positioned simply off of College Drive, a recognizable landmark in Renziehausen Park.

The rink was one among solely 12 donated to native communities by the Pittsburgh Penguins as a part of their “Energy Play” rink program to get extra youngsters uncovered to hockey.

“Lots of people had been instrumental in getting the rink right here in McKeesport however Mayor Mike Cherpeko pushed arduous to get the Penguins to pick our metropolis as one among their 12 places,” stated Justin Evans, supervisor of the McKeesport Dek Hockey Affiliation.  “He consistently burdened the significance of giving the kids a possibility to play this nice sport.”

The gamers know simply how vital it’s to have this chance.

“That is nice for the group as a result of this space is especially recognized for soccer and basketball, however it’s nice to offer adults and youngsters the chance to see and play hockey,” stated Miller.

Members of Workforce Rum Ham have fun their victory within the affiliation’s Excessive League Championship recreation, performed in December. (Photograph courtesy McKeesport Dek Hockey Affiliation, by way of Fb)


Evans has been a key a part of the rink’s success. He manages the leagues and performs on one of many grownup groups, which received one of many tournaments hosted by native dek hockey fanatic and sports activities discuss host Mark Madden.

“I actually simply take pleasure in it and I really like hockey,” Evans stated.

Zach Smith, who lives in Munhall, used to play at a rink on the South Aspect till it closed down. He has been enjoying hockey in McKeesport for the reason that dek opened in 2017 and performs on one of many event groups. He says there may be typically curiosity concerning the Renzie dek once they take part in competitions.

“They [other players] say, ‘You play for McKeesport? You have got a rink? We didn’t find out about that,’” Smith stated.

Invoice Klingensmith has 4 daughters who’ve performed within the youth leagues. They had been instrumental in “virtually begging” him to get again to enjoying hockey after a 25-year break.

“I’m the oldest goalie they’ve, and I play extra video games in a single season than some play in a yr,” Klingensmith stated.

Zach Smith of Munhall, who scored his three hundredth objective within the McKeesport affiliation in October, has been enjoying on the Renzie rink because it opened in 2017. (Photograph courtesy McKeesport Dek Hockey Affiliation, by way of Fb)


The current spring grownup league season was placed on hiatus as the chance to finish a lot wanted dek enhancements occurred earlier than anticipated, proper as groups had been transferring into the playoffs. The corporate dealing with the Renzie strolling path enhancements, El Grande Industries, is now repairing the subfloor to alleviate a flooding subject.

Evans says as soon as the work is over, the rink will characteristic a brand new, clean MS3 floor which is used at prime stage dek hockey rinks throughout the nation. The grownup league championship video games would be the first to be performed on the brand new floor.

“Much more persons are speaking about going there now that they’re making these enhancements,” says Smith.

The outdated floor can be reused within the adjoining rink, which can be open to the general public.


(Photograph courtesy McKeesport Dek Hockey Affiliation, by way of Fb)


Anybody age 16 and up who possesses the talent stage crucial and needs to hitch a McKeesport grownup league staff can now enroll as registration has opened for the summer time season. Youth league registration additionally will start quickly.

As with the grownup leagues, curiosity within the youth leagues is excessive popping out of the pandemic. Three free learn-to-play classes held over two weekends in March and April yielded about 50 youngsters per session.

As soon as the work is accomplished, which relies on good climate and supply of the brand new rink, play will resume. Evans is hoping for a late June early July begin.

“It’s one thing completely different for the youngsters to do to show them a brand new talent set and you may play all yr spherical,” Klingensmith stated. “With video games normally on Friday nights and Saturday mornings it offers them one thing to do as a substitute of sitting in the home enjoying PlayStation, which is why the dad and mom prefer it.”

Evans says whereas the delay in play has been irritating, it is going to be definitely worth the wait when the work is accomplished.

“These enhancements are one thing we’ve talked about and fundraised for for a number of years,” Evans stated. “To have the ability to get this work performed earlier than anticipated and kick off our first full dek hockey season since final March, when the pandemic started, with a top-notch enjoying floor is past something I may have wished for. I can’t wait to see how we will develop our dek hockey affiliation.”

For extra details about McKeesport Dek Hockey go to mckdekhockey.com or electronic mail mckdekhockey@gmail.com.


Kristen Keleschenyi is a contract author in North Versailles Twp. and one of many hosts of the Kristen & Amber Present on WMCK Web Radio at 5 p.m. Saturdays, 9 p.m. Mondays and 4 p.m. Thursdays. She could also be reached at kbishop25@hotmail.com. Jason A. Mignanelli is a contract author from Pittsburgh’s North Hills and a pupil at Duquesne College. He could also be reached at mignanellij@duq.edu.

Initially revealed June 22, 2021.

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