Penguins open new practice facility in Pittsburgh
CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (AP) The Pittsburgh Penguins unveiled a new practice facility Friday that also serves as a sports medicine center for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
The team thinks the facility will give the team an advantage in injury recovery and rehabilitation, Penguins spokesman Tom McMillan said.
''Nobody's ever had this before,'' McMillan said. ''We joked that if you took one of our players, blindfolded him and spun him around, they wouldn't know if they were at Consol Energy Center or at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.''
Pittsburgh's new practice locker room is identical to the one found at Consol, its home arena. The beams above the two full-size rinks also hang at the same distance above the ice as the arena's scoreboard.
The Penguins hope the complex can host future NHL draft combines and World Cup of Hockey training camps.
The facility will officially open as a public training and skating facility on Monday. It includes a physical therapy gym overlooking the Penguins' practice rink, a sports medicine clinic with 24 patient rooms, 14 locker rooms and 1,500 square feet of hockey skills training space.
The complex, which McMillan said should become a hub of youth hockey, will house the 22 Pens Elite amateur hockey teams.
Dr. Vonda Wright, medical director of the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, said the complex will aim to offer the public the same training, rehabilitation and nutrition guidance the Penguins receive.
NOTE: The Penguins offered defenseman Sergei Gonchar, 41, a professional tryout contract on Friday. Gonchar played five seasons with Pittsburgh, notably serving on its top power-play unit during back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals appearances in 2008 and 2009. The 2009 team won the title.