Pittsburgh Penguins Elite is Western Pennsylvania’s premier AAA amateur hockey organization.
A joint effort of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins and corporate partner Dick’s Sporting Goods, Pittsburgh Penguins Elite offers a comprehensive program for player development that includes the region’s premier coaching staff, professional management, world-class training facilities and unique opportunities, along with proven academic and career guidance. The Penguins Elite program is the only program in the region that offers a full compliment of teams for boys and girls at all age groups.
In March 2012, the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins partnered with the Pittsburgh Hornets amateur hockey association and Dick’s Sporting Goods to create a new era of AAA hockey in Pittsburgh. The vision was to form a unified elite program comprised of both boys and girls teams to represent Pittsburgh at the highest level of competition in the United States and Canada.
The Pittsburgh Hornets provided a great foundation for the new program, having forged a long tradition of developing players and advancing them to the USHL, NAHL, NCAA and the NHL. These players include Brandon Saad, John Gibson, JT Miller, Vince Trocheck , Nate Guenin, Ryan Malone and RJ Umberger, to name a few. The support of Dick’s Sporting Goods, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation provided strong corporate backing that significantly reduced participation fees for players and their families.
The funding provided by Dick’s Sporting Goods and the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation has reduced player participation fees by nearly 35 percent annually. In addition, Dick’s Sporting Goods provides FREE game jerseys and socks, practice jerseys and socks, pant shells, warmups and equipment bags to players each season. Players and parents also receive discounts on equipment and team-branded apparel purchased through Dick’s Sporting Goods.
In addition, the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins provide unique opportunities for PPE Players, including practicing at PPG Paints Arena for games/ practices and having the opportunity to attend select games and special events.
“To promote the development of young hockey players by providing on-ice and off-ice training and opportunities that allow each player to maximize his or her potential in a competitive learning environment, while providing positive lessons that allow them to excel in life.”
The organization emphasizes education, leadership, community involvement and the following core values:
The organization is fortunate to have a number of former NHL players and officials involved in the program. Current NHL vice president and director of officiating, Stephen Walkom, serves on the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite Board of Directors.
In addition, Pittsburgh Penguins Coaches Mark Recchi (22-year NHL veteran, former Penguin and three-time Stanley Cup Champion) is available for support when needed.
Most recently our 14U Girls and 16U Boys Teams won USA Hockey's National Championships.
Organizational & Individual Accomplishments:
-Only organization in the region to offer teams at all age groups for both boys and girls
-16U Boys won USA Hockey National Championships (2019)
-14U Girls won USA Hockey National Championships (2019)
-16U Tier 1 Elite League Champions (2019)
-15U Tier 1 Elite League Champions (2019)
- 14U Boys National Championship Finalists (2018)
-18U won the USA Hockey National Championships (2016)
- 16U Girls National Championship Finalists (2017)
- 14U Girls National Championship Finalists (2015)
-Two teams won Tier 1 Elite League Championships in 2013 (U-18 Boys & U-14 Girls)
-Had 11 teams represent the Mid-Am District at USA Hockey’s Tier 1 National Championships
-Hosted USA Hockey’s Tier 1 National Championships (2014, 2017 and 2019)
-Developed and hosted NHL Youth Cup & Mid-Winter Classic
The organization has a long history of advancing players to the USHL, NAHL, OHL and NCAA programs. Each of these options provides an opportunity for players to continue their development process at a higher level of competition. With so many options available, the organization felt the need to educate parents on each league and the opportunities that may be offered. In 2019, members of College Hockey Inc. and OHL provided families with an overview of their respective programs and educate them on the criteria used to evaluate players during the recruiting process.
The organization is always available to speak about the proper progression plan for each of our approximately 400 players.
On-ice performance is an important element to the organization. However, our goal is for our coaches to provide positive life lessons that will groom our players into well-rounded student athletes that will positively impact our community. Our coaches emphasize academics, and will designate periods of time on each road trip for study time and homework. They may request to review players’ grades periodically throughout the season. While on extended road trips, the organization encourages team visits to cultural destinations and college campuses.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are known as an organization that gives back to its community. In 2018-19, the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation donated over $7 million dollars to programs throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania that are designed to keep children active. As an extension of the NHL Penguins, the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite organization believes in giving back to our community. As such, each team is required to complete a minimum of one major community service project each season. In the past, teams have donated time to assist Hockey Sticks Together (Mighty Penguins, Steel City Icebergs, Pittsburgh I.C.E, and Envision), raised money for school supplies, collected winter clothing for those less fortunate, provided "high-five" cards at Children's Hospital, assisted at World Vision, and helped raise funds for a number of local charities.