Chadd John of Lower Burrell does some regular ice maintenance Thursday at the Valley Sports Complex. The Sports Complex is expecting some upgrades in the near future, including new lighting and signage.
By Molly Hensley-Clancy Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Valley Sports Complex is getting a makeover.
New owners plan to turn the New Kensington ice rink into a high-end hockey facility, complete with new training equipment and a new restaurant and lounge area. The decade-old facility, purchased from Allegheny Valley Bank by a group that includes owners of Murrysville Dek Hockey in Murrysville, will be renamed the Pittsburgh Ice Arena.
"The hope is to make it into the premiere ice facility in Western Pennsylvania," said Andrew Virostek, the president of Pittsburgh Ice Arena. "Elite players will not have the opportunity to train like this anywhere else."
The arena also will be home to the new Alain Lemieux Hockey Academy, a youth training center that will include strength and agility training geared toward hockey players as well as more traditional shooting and passing drills. A small training arena will be built for groups of two to three players using synthetic ice, a polymer panel on which players can skate using normal metal blades.
"It is very specific training that won't be offered elsewhere," said Mr. Virostek.
Changes are already taking place at the arena, which has seen the delivery of new speed training equipment. The installation of brighter lighting will be under way later in August, said Mr. Virostek, and the hockey academy will be fully operational in the fall.
The academy is a longtime dream of Alain Lemieux, a former NHL player who briefly played for the Pittsburgh Penguins and who is the older brother of NHL great Mario Lemieux. Though he has taught at camps nationally, the new Pittsburgh arena, said Mr. Lemieux, "will be a nice base."