Three Pittsburgh Penguins Practice Sessions Open To The Public

Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby

Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby

Sept. 20, 2013

WEST POINT, N.Y. - Tate Rink will be buzzing earlier than normal this season as the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League are set to spend Sept. 27-29 training on Army's home ice. All three practice sessions will be open to the public.

The Penguins are set to skate at Tate Rink on Friday, Sept. 27, at 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28, at 10 a.m. and Sunday, Sept. 29, at 10 a.m. Next weekend marks the third time the Penguins have visited West Point and the first time since 2008 an NHL team has trained at the Academy.

The Penguins' last stay on the banks of the Hudson came in 2007 when they spent three days training, along with focusing on leadership development and team bonding. That will once again be the goal next weekend for the three-time Stanley Cup champions. Along with conducting three workouts at Tate Rink, the team will eat in the cadet mess hall and spend time undergoing team-building exercises around West Point.

"We are extremely honored to welcome the Pittsburgh Penguins back here to West Point," said 10th-year Army head coach Brian Riley. "They are nothing short of a first-class organization under General Manager Ray Shero. While it's an exciting time for our program and our fans, it's an opportunity for the Penguins to be around the special young men and women here at West Point, only furthering their appreciation for those serving in our armed forces. Our hope is their next visit will be with the Stanley Cup next spring."

The Penguins first visited West Point in 2006 before returning the following year. After a lockout-shortened season in 2013-13, Pittsburgh authored a 36-12 record and advanced to the Eastern Conference Final series. Team captain and first team NHL all-star Sidney Crosby returns as the team's points leader after totaling 56 points (15 goals, 41 assists). Alternate captain Chris Kunitz, who played his college hockey at Ferris State alongside current Army assistant coach Trevor Large, amassed 52 points on a team-high 22 goals and 30 assists.

"We had some tremendous team-building experiences at West Point a few years ago, and our players really enjoyed it," Shero said of the Penguins' last visit. "We think it will be a great opportunity for this group to come together in a unique setting during the last week of camp. Coach (Brian) Riley and his staff do a great job, and it's always been a pleasure to spend time with them and to interact with the cadets. We are looking forward to getting back there and preparing for the start of the NHL season."

Along with the Penguins, previous NHL teams to train at West Point including the Philadelphia Flyers (2008, 2005, 2003, 1998), New York Rangers (2007, 2005), Florida Panthers (2007, 1995), Buffalo Sabres (1985) and New Jersey Devils (1985).

"We are thrilled to welcome the Penguins to West Point," said Army Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan. "It will be a unique opportunity for the West Point community to come out and watch one of the top teams in the NHL conduct practice. In addition, the trip speaks to the national treasure that West Point and the greater New York metropolitan area is. Having the Pittsburgh Penguins here to train and be inspired by our cadets and all the goodness that the United States Military Academy stands for is a win-win for both parties."

Army opens its season on Friday, Oct. 11, at Penn State. The Black Knights' first home game is slated for Saturday, Nov. 2. Fans can purchase tickets online at www.goARMYsports.com/tickets, over the phone at 1-877-TIX-ARMY or in-person at the Army Ticket Office located at Gate 3 of Michie Stadium.

The Penguins will be the second professional team to visit West Point this year, following the New York Yankees who played an exhibition game against the Black Knights' baseball team on March 30.

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