Next Saturday is Try Hockey for Free Day – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Next Saturday is Try Hockey for Free Day for kids to be held at rinks across the region. 



The promotion is part of USA Hockey’s Hockey Weekend Across America, which is a weeklong program in its 10th year. The group is working with some 300 hockey associations across the country to supply ice time, instructors and even some equipment to use for children ages 4 to 9. They need not have previous hockey or skating experience. 



One of the local groups that really gets into it is the North Hills Amateur Hockey Association at Pittsburgh Ice Arena in New Kensington. There the morning will start at 7:30. Registration and fitting of equipment (on loan from the Pittsburgh Penguins) runs from 8 to 9 a.m., and the kids are on the ice from 9 to 9:30. Families can take photos as their players come off the ice. Then everybody turns in the gear for a healthy snack.





Some kids go on to actually play hockey with the Pittsburgh Vipers or such programs, and others just have fun for a day, says association president Amy O’Neill. “Either way, it is a great way to share our love of the sport. We never have any problem finding volunteers” to go out and help the would-be Sidney Crosbys feel the thrill of scoring their first goals. “By the end of the session, it’s smiles all around.” (For more information, contact pittsburghvipers@gmail.com or 724-759-3089.)



The event is happening at various times at other participating rinks, which range from Beaver County Ice Arena to Center Ice Arena near Delmont to the Ice Mine near Connellsville. To find a rink near you, visit tryhockeyforfree.com



Hockey Week Across America kicks off Sunday with NBC Sports’ Hockey Day in America coverage starting on the network at noon before two games, Washington at New York Rangers followed by Detroit at Pittsburgh. (Two more games will air that night on NBCSN).



Other fun includes Friday’s Wear Your Favorite Jersey Day. Find details at hockeyweekendacrossamerica.com



Bob Batz Jr.: bbatz@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1930 and on Twitter @bobbatzjr.

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