The Heitz 61 Memorial Foundation hosted the 1st Annual Special Hockey camp, August 3-5th, at Robert Morris University for the Mighty Penguins Sled Hockey team, the Steel City Icebergs and the Pittsburgh I.C.E. The 3-day camp offered our Mighty Pens athletes the opportunity to work on both on-ice and off-ice skill development as well as focusing on nutrition and physical fitness.
The camp was an amazing opportunity for the Mighty Pens players to build their self-esteem and develop their team building skills together. A visit from Pittsburgh Penguins’ Iceburgh made the camp a wonderful memory for all of our players!
Thanks to Central Catholic High School’s Senior team, ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators’ Sean Berkstresser, NHL Vancouver Canuck’s Matt Bartkowski, and RMU Men’s Head Coach Derek Schooley for helping our athletes develop their on-ice skills. Our teams had fun working with everyone while developing new skills.
A huge thanks goes to Debbie and Doug Heitzenrater who devoted their time to making this camp so special for athletes of all abilities in honor of their son, Ryan Heitzenrater. The Heitz 61 Memorial Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, offered this free summer hockey camp in memory of Ryan Heitzenrater. Please visit The Heitz 61 Memorial Foundation to learn more about Ryan and the Foundation’s mission to honor his legacy.
An inspiring group of kids from Upper St. Clair hosted the 3rd Annual Car Wash and Bake Sale to benefit the Mighty Penguins Sled Hockey teams. Organized by 13 year-old Nathan Piatt and his friends, these kids worked together to create posters to market the event, organize the supplies and bake delicious treats for the bake sale.
On the day of the event, they took turns washing cars, promoting the car wash on the street and selling their baked goods. Their hard work paid off and they raised over $1400 for our amazing athletes! These kids demonstrated what it’s all about – Kids Helping Kids!
A huge thanks to all of these kids for being such great friends to our Mighty Pens!
For the first time in club history, the Pittsburgh Mighty Penguins Sled Hockey Club captured two National Championship titles at the 11th annual USA Disabled Hockey Festival in Buffalo, NY
Bringing home their first National Championship title, the Mighty Pens Youth B Team earned their spot in the championship game with a 3-1 record and avenged their only tournament loss with a 5-0 win against the Colorado Little Avalanche in the Finals.
The Mighty Penguins Senior Adult team participated in the Adult A Division and clinched their first National title with a 7-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets!
Congrats to all our Mighty Pens athletes and coaches who have worked so hard this season!
The Pittsburgh Penguins and ATI donated funds to install sled-accessible dashboards in 2 local Pittsburgh rinks to support our Mighty Penguins Sled Hockey teams. The boards were installed at RMU Island Sports Center and our home rink, BladeRunners Ice Complex in Harmarville.
Sled-accessible boards give our Mighty Pens athletes an opportunity to compete and utilize the playing surface like able-bodied players. The boards provide an easier on and off transition for players to utilize the benches and the penalty boxes. Without the sled-accesbile dashers and benches, sled hockey teams must line up along the boards on the ice during games. This creates a delay in play when pucks enter player “benches” on-ice as well as a potentially unsafe situation for all players.
The sled-accessible dashers in Pittsburgh are some of the very first to be installed in North America. The Penguins and ATI have given our Mighty Pens an amazing opportunity to train and compete on the same level as Team USA’s National Sled Hockey Paralympic gold medalists. We are proud to have state-of-the art facilities in Pittsburgh just like the sled hockey pros! The Pittsburgh Penguins have once again demonstrated their commitment to providing the best opportunities for athletes of all abilities to excel.
A huge thanks from our amazing Mighty Pens athletes to ATI and the Pittsburgh Penguins for supporting our dreams! Hockey Is For Everyone!
This amazing video took the internet by storm this week showing NHL players like Pittsburgh’s own Sidney Crosby hitting the ice in sleds to surprise a group of young sled hockey players in Canada. The Cruisers sledge hockey team thought they’d volunteered for a documentary about the sport but what they didn’t know was that they were about to be joined by some of the NHL’s biggest stars for one unforgettable game.
The game of sled hockey, or sledge hockey as it is known everywhere outside of the United States, has grown in prominence over the years and it gives more people with physical disabilities an opportunity to play the game we all love. The upper-body strength and balance of sled hockey athletes is huge and takes a tremendous amount of determination and effort which a few NHL stars had the opportunity to discover firsthand! The videos included point of views from both sled hockey players and NHL stars, offering an exciting insight into our sport.
Working with children and adults in our Mighty Penguins sled hockey program, we see the determination it takes for our athletes to overcome physical disabilities every time they hit the ice. Seeing them succeed and watching their love of the game grow every time they hit the ice is inspiring to all of us who work so hard to make their dreams a reality when they hit the ice! To watch extremely talented NHL players experience first hand how difficult it is to play sled hockey and to witness them gain an appreciation for athletes of all abilities is tremendous for all involved in the sport of sled hockey.
Thanks to Gatorade, the NHL and all of the NHL stars who put our amazing sport in the limelight this week. Your support of sled hockey athletes will provide programs around the world with countless opportunities and avenues for growth. Thank you for sharing your love of the game with athletes of every ability! Hockey truly Is For Everyone!
“A day at the rink should be enjoyed by everybody. Hockey is hockey and it’s great everyone can play in all the different ways we play this sport” – Ryan Miller, Vancouver Canucks
“Just seeing the poise and the character and the mental strength, they’re really an inspiration for all of us. So, I think, their passion for hockey is something we all share, no matter what our situation or where we come from” – Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
A new, expanded ICE WARRIORS: USA SLED HOCKEY gives a behind-the-scenes look at Team USA’s record-breaking performance at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. The show premieres TONIGHT on PBS at 10pm and our very own Dan McCoy will be live tweeting! #ICEWARRIORS
If you missed the premiere, check out the ICE WARRIORS: USA SLED HOCKEY website and catch up on all the exciting action on Team USA’s journey to gold in Sochi. The website features stories of Team USA’s sled hockey players, videos of games and highlights, and in-depth player and coach interviews.
The Mighty Pens are proud of our Paralympian Dan McCoy and his love of the game! Thanks for continuing to inspire the younger generations of Mighty Pens sled hockey players who are all aspiring to win gold like #14!
The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center hosted its Third Annual “The Children’s HOMEtown Hero Luncheon” on Friday, October 24, 2014 at the Omni William Penn Hotel. The afternoon included lunch, silent auction, and raffle opportunities as well as a special program by 2014 Paralympic Gold Medalist, Dan McCoy. Born with spina bifida, Dan has overcome tremendous challenges and has accomplished so much. He is an inspiration to the children and families of this community and The Children’s Home of & Lemieux Family Center was delighted to honor Dan as this year’s 2014 Hometown Hero!