Fans of hockey in Richland Township can rejoice about more than the upcoming Penguins season. Construction on a new dek hockey rink, which began in August in Richland Community Park, is nearly finished. Colby Howe, intern for Richland Township, estimates it will be completed later this month.
Until then, the rink is open and ready to be used by hockey players.
"Anybody that has a ball and a stick that wants to can come up and play pick-up games or have fun with friends," said Richland Township Manager Dean Bastianini.
Richland Township partnered with the Pittsburgh Penguin Foundation to construct the 155-foot-by-75-foot court. The court is part of Project Power Play—a program to build a dozen dek hockey courts in the Pittsburgh area by 2016.
Bastianini credits Township Supervisor Bart Miller for learning about the program and bringing it to the board's attention.
"Since his son plays inline hockey, Bart recognized how much demand and interest there was in this sport from the youth of our community," Bastianini said.
The township made a proposal to the foundation last spring, which then agreed that Richland Township was a good location with enough interest in the sport.
"The township supplied the location and site preparation," Howe said. "We had a bid out already for paving for one of the roads up in the park, and so we just extended that bid a little bit to include the asphalt that was used for the hockey rink."
When the court is finalized, Bastianini plans on setting up a Richland Township Dek Hockey Association which will schedule games.
"We are still in the formative stages of thinking about the best way to do that," Bastianini said. "We'll be building this from the ground up."
Until then, it's up to players to provide their own fun.
"I think it will be welcomed by the hockey players of the community," Bastianini said. "It's a first class facility that people will be having a lot of fun at for years and years to come."
Any volunteers who have ideas or want to be a part of the new Richland Township Dek Hockey Association can contact the township at 724-443-5921 or send an email via the township's website.
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