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RMU cutting hockey programs


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I always look at the health of a hockey market not based on its NHL team (though that certainly helps get 4-5 yr olds on skates)  but more based on how much Junior hockey, College hockey, Minor Pro, and Midget hockey there is.   Living in Texas, I see Dallas-Ft Worth as having not just the Stars, but NAHL (Brahmas),  2 Na3hl teams, an ECHL team (Allen Americans) a couple of ACHA programs, and a Tier I elite program (Dallas Start Elite).  All of that is actually really good! But D-1 college hockey is absolutely a hole in the market unlikely to fill any time soon.   Hate to see PGH lose that piece of the larger hockey picture.

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Posted (edited)

No. The WPXI article ends with this sentence:

The university says it will be adding the club sports of women’s ice hockey, women’s golf, men’s rowing, and skating for the fall of 2021.

And the RMU website statement includes this:

 

  • The university is adding additional club sports, including women’s ice hockey, women’s golf, men’s rowing, and skating for the fall of 2021. This will give RMU 24 club sports, including three club men’s ice hockey teams. More than 400 students are currently involved in club sports at RMU. 
Edited by Lifelongbender
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1 minute ago, champeen said:

But D-1 college hockey is absolutely a hole in the market unlikely to fill any time soon.   Hate to see PGH lose that piece of the larger hockey picture.

I don't see any university among all the ones in Pittsburgh poised to bring D1 Hockey in here anytime soon, either.

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Really sucks. Clearview already has the naming right for it. RMU will sell to BBS. Hopefully too much doesn't change about the way things are run there. They do have the best in house program in the area.

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1 hour ago, Lifelongbender said:

No. The WPXI article ends with this sentence:

The university says it will be adding the club sports of women’s ice hockey, women’s golf, men’s rowing, and skating for the fall of 2021.

And the RMU website statement includes this:

 

  • The university is adding additional club sports, including women’s ice hockey, women’s golf, men’s rowing, and skating for the fall of 2021. This will give RMU 24 club sports, including three club men’s ice hockey teams. More than 400 students are currently involved in club sports at RMU. 

Ok, I left Pittsburgh almost a year ago, but for the 2019-2020, RMU did not have three club men's ice hockey teams.  Do they really have that now, or are they saying then plan to have 3?  If so, every year then planned to have 3, then dropped at least one of them due to a lack of players.  I said it before and I'll say it again, Pittsburgh is not a hockey town.

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1 hour ago, Lifelongbender said:

I don't see any university among all the ones in Pittsburgh poised to bring D1 Hockey in here anytime soon, either.

Very true.  Slippery Rock got rid of their ACHA D1, Pitt got rid of their D2, and I'm not sure if they even had a D1 last year (they could have but you can't find anything on the internet because everyone was keeping stuff a secret from the COVID police).  Duquesne had a D1 but they were weak, CMU folded years ago, not sure what is up with Chatham but I assume they still have NCAA D3 (which may be the strongest out of all the schools now, which is sad)

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2 hours ago, Spear and Magic Helmet said:

What upgrades are needed at the RMU rink? I haven't been there in years, but it seemed fairly nice the last time I was there. 

I was wondering this myself. It’s been 3-4 years since I’ve been to that place. Maybe the nuclear waste is pushing up into the building again. For those old enough to remember, when that place was first built you couldn’t use the water for the first 2 years. I can’t recall what but whatever landfill it was built on was toxic. 
 

interesting quote from the RMU President about sports and diversity. The AD was on the news a few months back talking about how much of a hole the athletic programs are in financially. 

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I'm sad to hear this. I thought it was great when RMU brought NCAA DIv 1 hockey to Pittsburgh. It was great to see how many Pittsburgh kids played in this program at the begining and over the years. It is a shame, cause I don't see a D1 program coming back anytime soon. WJ was on track to do a NCAA 1 or 3 program years ago before the AD left and went to Adrian College, Pitt hates it's hockey program and tried to get rid of the club team years ago. Cal U was making good efforts to build a rink and maybe go NCAA years ago before they fired the AD and that program took a step back. Maybe Duquesne can pull it off with some help and luck, but I think it will be a long time. Let's hope Chattam is able to stay and improves. I don't get RMU and why having hockey misaligns them with other simular Universities. So many smaller schools have been able to pull it off, even with the title 9 requirments. BGSU, Miami of OH, Canisus, Niagra, Mercyhurst to name a few. Maybe Kent State can start its D1 program back. I wonder what that does to UPMC Lemiuex plans to add their 3rd sheet, I had heard the RMU men's team was going there. Good news is that opens up a good bit of ice time at the rink for youth programs. Maybe the foxes will now have a set practice schedule. Good luck to coach Schooley and all the current and upcoming players on finding a new home. 

 

I sure hope this is not the start of cancel culture with college sports, specifically hockey. Hockey has never trully been a very diversed sport to begin with. Hockey does not discrimnate against race, sex or age, but it does discrimnate against the green in your pocket, if you don't have it, your not going to play it, end of story.

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Posted (edited)

Hockey does discriminate against race. It is improving, but the sport has a really long way to go. Money is a huge part of it, and you can't untangle it. If people with the power and with the money really wanted to make changes, they would have to spend money. When push comes to shove, that money does not get spent. We would have seen something viable now on the Hill and in a rink in the East End. 

USA Hockey, too. Their current diversity effort consists mostly of offering programming once a month to get others to become change makers. The audience for that programming is the ones already interested in change. The problem is, USA Hockey IS a change maker, but would have to spend more money than this little programming to really get there. They aren't even willing to treat their successful  women's Olympian program the same as the men.

The NHL likes its college developed hockey players. Maybe they should pay attention to this. Not a good trend for them either, if more and more schools drop their ice programs.

Edited by Saucey
Horrible sentences corrected
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This program probably survived longer than it should have when you look at all of the barriers that are in place working against. The biggest drawback and obstacle has to be the lack of an on-campus facility. Just look at Pitt football, they can't get students to hop a bus from Oakland to Heinz Field.

I've heard those same "rumors" about this 3rd sheet and RMU plus a Junior team. If this was the case, did the Penguins just turn their backs on them? The bottom line is it's ALL about the money in this sport and sadly it will probably only get worse.

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33 minutes ago, dazedandconfused said:

This program probably survived longer than it should have when you look at all of the barriers that are in place working against. The biggest drawback and obstacle has to be the lack of an on-campus facility. Just look at Pitt football, they can't get students to hop a bus from Oakland to Heinz Field.

If football is important, then Pitt made a huge mistake by tearing down the stadium. That place was always packed. Heinz Field just isn't for Pitt. Of course, one could argue persuasively that it sure feels like they value basketball over football there.

The RMU Island Facility is, or at least once was, a nice facility. But being off-campus surely hurt them. It will be interesting to see what Black Bear does with it (or whoever else ends up owning it). One thing is certain - the City can't afford to lose that much ice.

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47 minutes ago, Lifelongbender said:

The RMU Island Facility is, or at least once was, a nice facility. But being off-campus surely hurt them. It will be interesting to see what Black Bear does with it (or whoever else ends up owning it). One thing is certain - the City can't afford to lose that much ice.

We absolutely cannot afford to lose this facility. I genuinely hope that whoever buys it doesn't change too much up. Maybe it means the Foxes get more ice, or another organization can move in part time. I would expect the announcement of a new sponsor and ownership group by July. There's no way RMU is going to keep paying for that place into the fall semester. Hopefully all the in-house players are not displaced. 

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Posted (edited)

Sad news - a local kid on the NCAA team told us he doesn’t have anywhere to transfer to if he wanted to continue playing. He’s not on athletic scholarship. half of his tuition is covered by academic scholarships & grants, the other half his parents. He’s essentially done playing hockey. He said the top 3-4 players who are on athletic scholarships might get a chance somewhere else but the transfer portal is a convoluted mess. 

The limited amount of people I do know involved with the program said they were not surprised the program was folded. there has been talk about it before covid. Multiple reasons starting with a new president down to the facility losing money. 
 

I truly hope someone like black bear does purchase the facility (assuming it’s for sale) if a random developer grabs that land, kids will suffer. RMU will likely lose its ACHA programs, I can’t see a scenario that has them finding ice at Baierl or UPMC, it’s my understanding during season neither rink has much ice to sell. PIHL already has issues getting ice. PAHL will take a hit. PPE still buys ice from rmu when needed. Would beaver be the last rink standing on that side of town ? I’d expect ice fees to rise even more due to demand. If this place goes down, it will be a big hit for western pa. 

Edited by Danner27
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If Black Bear becomes an owner of rink and a league, it seems. Increases costs. But maybe that has to happen for improvements and profit. But....that is also a monopoly.

But better that than a loss of the facility entirely.

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I know that it seems like Black Bear maybe a bad thing cause they raise the cost of ice, but lets look at it if you owned the rink. It makes sense, Someone said ice at PIA or delmont was going to be $400 for an hour and half? I could be wrong, but most orginazation that are not playing at a comunity rink are paying between $325 and $450 for an hour. That is the going rate, I have not heard of Black Bear buying RMU and I don't think it will happen, but I could be wrong. RMU rink was given to them from the Hillman corp. Again I maybe wrong, but the way it was explained to me, is Hillman originally made this site a park and tried to give it away to the local city with everything that is burried beneeth of it and the problems. I was told if it was sold that Hillman would still be responsible for the mess under the rink/park. Well that fell though and a couple years later they built a rink, ran it for a couple years and then gifted it to RMU. It looks like RMU made it at the time, not so much now and if they decide to sell it they are still holding the responsiblity to clean up the mess. If Black Bear does its homework, I am sure this is a deal breaker. But you never know. I can tell you if it was me that bought it, I would trim some staff that have very good jobs and benifits from the school and bring the salary in line with simular rinks, that alone would increase profitablity enough that a raise of the hourly rate would be minamal. The Black Bear model actually has some great benifits. They would start their own inhouse leagues including school and amatuer, the BS that goes on in PAHL and PIHL would now have competition that can move quicker and make decsions that could be benifical to local hockey. They offer more programing like learn to play, mens leagues, camps and tournaments. They have also got involved in Junior and AAA progrms. They are part of the ownership groups of USHL, NAHL and many tier 3 Junior and AAA teams and they are creating pipeline for these programs. To be honest Black Bear might not be a bad thing, they have money and the rinks they have taken over, they have invested and cleaned up. Would you rather go to PIA and have to put up with toilets falling off walls, broken doors and just shitty enviroments that have been mis run for years or have rinks that are operated and run and are a pleasure to spend time at. Rinks like Baierl and Ice Castle, the owners take pride and run them accordingly and it shows, then you have Alpha and Frozen Pond, they both made improvements and are better than they where in the past, but still are not run the best or the cleanest or offer more modern conviences. Then you have the shit holes like PIA which is one step above the old Golden Mile or South Side before it closed. I say the added cost will not be much more than what you paid before, if it is, it is a buyers market and you can go to other rinks. Lets be glad there are people or groups willing to buy or invest in rinks and not closing rinks as was happening a few years ago with Airport closing, Bethel almost closing and loosing a sheet of ice, Rostraver on the verge of being condemend. Change and the unkown are difficult, but I think Pittsburgh hockey is still growing.

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7 minutes ago, mrfreeze said:

I know that it seems like Black Bear maybe a bad thing cause they raise the cost of ice, but lets look at it if you owned the rink. It makes sense, Someone said ice at PIA or delmont was going to be $400 for an hour and half? I could be wrong, but most orginazation that are not playing at a comunity rink are paying between $325 and $450 for an hour. That is the going rate, I have not heard of Black Bear buying RMU and I don't think it will happen, but I could be wrong. RMU rink was given to them from the Hillman corp. Again I maybe wrong, but the way it was explained to me, is Hillman originally made this site a park and tried to give it away to the local city with everything that is burried beneeth of it and the problems. I was told if it was sold that Hillman would still be responsible for the mess under the rink/park. Well that fell though and a couple years later they built a rink, ran it for a couple years and then gifted it to RMU. It looks like RMU made it at the time, not so much now and if they decide to sell it they are still holding the responsiblity to clean up the mess. If Black Bear does its homework, I am sure this is a deal breaker. But you never know. I can tell you if it was me that bought it, I would trim some staff that have very good jobs and benifits from the school and bring the salary in line with simular rinks, that alone would increase profitablity enough that a raise of the hourly rate would be minamal. The Black Bear model actually has some great benifits. They would start their own inhouse leagues including school and amatuer, the BS that goes on in PAHL and PIHL would now have competition that can move quicker and make decsions that could be benifical to local hockey. They offer more programing like learn to play, mens leagues, camps and tournaments. They have also got involved in Junior and AAA progrms. They are part of the ownership groups of USHL, NAHL and many tier 3 Junior and AAA teams and they are creating pipeline for these programs. To be honest Black Bear might not be a bad thing, they have money and the rinks they have taken over, they have invested and cleaned up. Would you rather go to PIA and have to put up with toilets falling off walls, broken doors and just shitty enviroments that have been mis run for years or have rinks that are operated and run and are a pleasure to spend time at. Rinks like Baierl and Ice Castle, the owners take pride and run them accordingly and it shows, then you have Alpha and Frozen Pond, they both made improvements and are better than they where in the past, but still are not run the best or the cleanest or offer more modern conviences. Then you have the shit holes like PIA which is one step above the old Golden Mile or South Side before it closed. I say the added cost will not be much more than what you paid before, if it is, it is a buyers market and you can go to other rinks. Lets be glad there are people or groups willing to buy or invest in rinks and not closing rinks as was happening a few years ago with Airport closing, Bethel almost closing and loosing a sheet of ice, Rostraver on the verge of being condemend. Change and the unkown are difficult, but I think Pittsburgh hockey is still growing.

Some of this I agree with. I am not an expert in what organizations are paying across the city, but for the two whose organizational contract rates with rinks I have heard about, $400 is well above what those organizations pay for the ice. It may be that at Center Ice the rate for the Badgers is less than what they're charging hockey schools or other private parties. I don't know what the Badgers are paying for their ice out there. I'm the one who said that about Delmont, and I heard it was $500 for an hour and a half out there from someone I trust (but I have not called the rink to get a quote myself).

No question that competition for PIHL especially would be incredibly beneficial. The rules for Middle School rosters alone should make school programs want to look elsewhere. Any league that competes with them will be welcome, as was Alpha's this season.

Listen, keeping RMU open and operating is incredibly important. And let's face it, if ice rinks were hugely profitable operations in SWPA, there would probably still be several Bladerunners around the city instead of a bunch of former ones operated by different entities. Bethel Park Bladerunners was at essentially 100% utilization for both those rinks at the time of the sale - heck, SHAHA was using about 80% of their available ice themselves, talk about guaranteed sales -  and the owners still chose to sell it to the YMCA, which doesn't really want to own an ice rink and never hid their intentions to get rid of one sheet right away and the second ASAP. Nobody here has actually claimed that they heard that Black Bear is buying RMU, and although my first post asked how long until the new player in town owns it, my point wasn't specifically about Black Bear but just a guess that RMU will be sold right quickly.

I cannot imagine that Robert Morris will want to continue owning an ice rink without D1 teams to put on the ice. It's critical that Pittsburgh not lose that ice. Whatever may happen to ice costs in the aftermath of all of this is just the way of the world. As has been noted elsewhere on this board as recently as today, it's already absurdly expensive to put a player on the ice.

Another prediction: it won't be two hours before someone accuses @mrfreeze of working for Black Bear.

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RMU is not for sale. The facility is used by all of their D1 sports teams. They just announced a deal to improve the track for the track team. The four club teams provide students paying full tuition and paying to play hockey. Why pay a lot for something when you can have others come in and pay for it?

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2 hours ago, SoPiGC said:

RMU is not for sale. The facility is used by all of their D1 sports teams. They just announced a deal to improve the track for the track team. The four club teams provide students paying full tuition and paying to play hockey. Why pay a lot for something when you can have others come in and pay for it?

Because it needs expensive improvements as they were quoted saying in articles? I mean, it's all speculation. I think it's a shock to the community and people are just worried what further ramifications there may be.

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4 hours ago, SoPiGC said:

RMU is not for sale. The facility is used by all of their D1 sports teams. They just announced a deal to improve the track for the track team. The four club teams provide students paying full tuition and paying to play hockey. Why pay a lot for something when you can have others come in and pay for it?

I don’t thing it’ll be cheaper to own the ice for those teams than to rent from someone else and let them insure it, and maintain it, and operate it. 

We shall see. @Saucey is right on that. 

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