IHC Hockey Training Center at St. Clair Fitness and Racquet Club hosts a synthetic-ice speed ramp.
By Jill Thurston
Local hockey players will have another training option beginning Saturday when IHC Hockey Inc. of Upper St. Clair opens its training center inside the St. Clair Fitness and Racquet Club on McLaughlin Run Road with a synthetic ice skating speed ramp and a 20-by-40-foot synthetic ice rink.
The grand opening is from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday with tours, demonstrations and refreshments.
St. Clair Fitness and Racquet Club, owned by the Fisfis family of Peters since 2008, installed the synthetic practice ice and skating speed ramp a year and half ago, said Josh McIntyre, general manager for the fitness club.
IHC Hockey will partner with the club to provide hockey training and will be responsible for the maintenance of the synthetic surfaces, which last 10 to 15 years, according to Bob Gergerich, founder, president and head instructor of IHC Hockey.
Mr. Gergerich said this is the first synthetic skating speed ramp in Western Pennsylvania. The advantage of the synthetic surface over ice is the added exertion required to skate. The surface is 70 to 80 percent "glide" effective compared to ice, Mr. Gergerich said. The added resistance combined with the elevation helps build speed and quickness.
The training center also will offer slide boards, Russian plyometric boxes and hockey specific training aids.
Training will be available for players ages 5 and older.
Mr. Gergerich played professional hockey in North America and in Europe and created IHC Hockey 30 years ago to develop players.
"That's been my goal for 30 years. We always have a positive spin on everything and try to be a positive influence. That is our plan for this facility as well," he said.
There are other changes at the fitness club. Mr. McIntyre said ground has been broken on a new parking lot. The club is adding more racquetball courts, a new cardio theater, a cross-fit studio, Les Mills group fitness programming and performance enhancement training. Plans are for the additions to be in place by Jan 1.
IHC Hockey has operated hockey schools and clinics in the Pittsburgh area as well as throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.