Skip to main content

A skate at the Winter Classic Community Rink

 Maggie and I at the Winter Classic Community Rink

In what has become a Christmas tradition for Maggie and I, we've gone outdoor skating in Pittsburgh.  Last year, we skated at the public rink in PPG Plaza.  But this year was different, and on a Christmas Eve that is typical of a Pittsburgh winter gray, overcast, and just cold enough to support a fresh layer of snow in the morning, we had a memorable experience at the 2011 Winter Classic Community Rink.  The rink, which was constructed as part of the festivities for the 2011 Winter Classic between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, is located just outside of Heinz Field.

In the time span of five days, the parking lot that sits between Stage AE and Heinz Field was transformed into a regulation ice rink where public skating, youth, high school, and college hockey games will take place.  Sure it's not a Rockfeller Center, but you really can't beat skating outside with an entire city skyline as a backdrop!

IMG_0449

If you follow this blog or know me, you know that I am a big hockey fan.  So being able to skate at the Winter Classic Community Rink was an amazing experience.  The Winter Classic has in four short years become hockey's Super Bowl, an event that captures the interest of the hardcore and the casual fan.  What started out as a novelty on January 1, 2008 in Buffalo has become a staple of the hockey calendar and New Year's Day.

The goosebumps I felt while out on the ice and seeing and sharing the smiles and excitement of all that were on the ice that afternoon is something you don't see or get everyday.  Kids in their favorite Pittsburgh Penguin jerseys racing down the ice.  One child, who was a far superior skater than I, was making - or at least trying to - snow angels at center ice.  Fans and families who may not have tickets to the game taking photos on the rink as a souvenir from just being there.

IMG_0459

After spending some money on Winter Classic Memorabilia, which has been proudly added to our growing sports loft, we entered the rink when it opened to the public at 3 pm.  Maggie decked out head to toe in her Hurricanes gear attracted the attention of Pens fans and of the media.  We were both interviewed by KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh making the evening news.  We were also interviewed by Dan Rosen at NHL.Com.

As for skating, things started out rough.  We were on rental skates, but once we sat down again and tightened the skates, there was no trouble at all!  The atmosphere was entirely festive as more and more people began to make it onto the ice.  Even Santa stopped by - arriving on a zamboni!

IMG_0503

As for the Winter Classic, I am extremely excited about the event.  Throw in that it's in Pittsburgh and it adds that much more.  The game has become a celebration of hockey and its fans.  In an age where most big sporting events are more oriented to the corporate sponsors.  The NHL Winter Classic truly celebrates the roots of a sport that not only the fans love and enjoy the players do as well.

My entire Winter Classic Community Set can be found on flickr.

Comments

Frank Brosnan said…
Adam, You might want to check this out about I-74 construction in OH

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/blog/2011/01/809m-tagged-to-extend-i-74-through.html

Popular posts from this blog

The Relief Route That Wasn't: The Never Built I-70 Bypass in the Mid-Mon Valley

In June 1963, a small blurb in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette read that The Westmoreland Engineering Company was awarded a $24,060 bid to study the proposed construction of Interstate 70 in Westmoreland and Washington Counties.  The study was to see what the construction and right-of-way costs "...to modernize the existing highway to Interstate requirements within eight months." (1)  This small, non-attributed, three paragraph article came less than a decade after the completion of a four lane highway that linked the Mid-Mon Valley to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This would be the start of a 15 year process to upgrade and improve Interstate 70 - a process that ultimately never produced a single foot of new highway.

This is the story, albeit brief, of the I-70 that never came about.

Background:
What is now known as Interstate70 from Washington to New Stanton began as a connecting highway for the region to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Known as the "Express Highway", construct…

Independence Boulevard - Charlotte's First Urban Highway

Today, the major pieces of Charlotte's highway network include the Outerbelt (I-485), Interstates 77 and 85, and the Brookshire and Belk Freeways (I-277), but nearly sixty years ago Charlotte's first major urban highway project would begin.  The construction of Independence Boulevard in the 1940s and early 1950s would give Charlotte and North Carolina its first urban expressway, and would usher in a new era of highway building throughout the state.
With the help of former mayor, Ben Douglas - who sat on the State Highway Commission in the 1940s - the push for building Independence Blvd. began.  In 1946, city residents passed a $200,000 bond issue that would go along with over $2 million in federal funding.  The highway would open in two stages in 1949 and 1950.  When a grade separated interchange was built at South Blvd. and Morehead St. in the mid 1950s, Independence Blvd. was completed. (1)  Although the highway was not a fully controlled access highway, it gave motorists an …

The Bigelow Blvd. / Crosstown Expressway (Interstate 579) Ghost Ramp Mystery Explained

For nearly five decades, many Pittbsurgh-area motorists, when leaving the old Civic Arena or exiting off the Crosstown Expressway onto Bigelow Boulevard, have wondered what exactly the ghost ramp in the above photo was for.  Where was it to have come from?  When and why did they stop?  Will it ever be built?
The original plans for the Crosstown Expressway included a full interchange with Bigelow Boulevard.  However, these plans never came to fruition.  The only ramps that were built were from I-579 North onto to the Bigelow and from Bigelow Boulevard/PA 380 West to I-579 South.  The above ramp was to have come from I-579 South, and depending on what older map of Pittsburgh you have over or under the existing roadway, and on to Bigelow/PA 380 East.  It never came to be, and the HOV ramp to what was once the Civic Arena has basically eliminated the need for completing this interchange.


The two photos above show the retaining wall with the ghost ramp and how it would have connected onto…