Hunt Armory ice rink opens new opportunities for athletes and fans


Chatham men’s ice hockey in action at Hunt Armory, with makeshift tent locker rooms in the background. Photo Credit: Liam Lyons for Chatham Athletics

Carson Gates

The historic Hunt Armory’s recent launch of a seasonal ice rink has garnered attention from the Chatham University community. 

Both the men’s and women’s ice hockey inaugural games at the armory took place at the start of January. The men’s team came away with a comeback victory over visiting King’s College, while the women mounted a resurgence of their own with a win over Lebanon Valley. 

The Hunt Armory – roughly a 10-minute walk from Chatham’s Shadyside campus – seemed to have some magic to it, with both teams finding a way to rally to win big in their inaugural games.

The men currently play at Frozen Pond Arena, a short drive from the Eden Hall campus, but it is around a 40 minute shuttle ride every day.

The women play at Pittsburgh Ice Arena, about a 30-minute ride from the Shadyside campus.

The opening of the Hunt Armory ice rink has allowed both teams to practice with a much shorter commute time. 

Both teams were allowed to play their recent games at the armory. The men’s team played on Jan. 14, and the women’s team played on Jan. 21. They hope to make the move to the armory permanently if possible in the future.

The men found themselves down by one goal after the first period, but a scoring spree in the second frame gave them the lead and they never looked back. They walked away from their contest with a 4-1 win.

The women’s game saw them down by two goals after the first 20 minutes of play. A big three-goal second period also gave them the lead that carried them the rest of the game. They ended up with a final score of 5-3.

Chatham fans in attendance during the men’s hockey game on Jan. 14. Photo Credit: Liam Lyons for Chatham Athletics

Women’s head coach Mike O’Grady believed the atmosphere of the rink helped bring back his team. 

“It’s awesome. It was a team win,” O’Grady said. “The location of this place is amazing.” 

Abi Fuzaylov ‘24 believes having closer access to a rink will bring more students together. 

“It was amazing, we had fans,” Fuzaylov said. “It’s definitely a nice atmosphere.” 

Crowd numbers had to be limited with both games due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Even with shortened numbers, though, the Cougar faithful made their presence known.

A work in progress

Senior Vice President of Facilities for the Pittsburgh Penguins Rich Hixon has been crucial in the opening of the rink. In an interview with the Communiqué, Hixon went into the process of opening the Hunt Armory ice rink.

The Hunt Armory is the “first indoor sheet of ice in the city of Pittsburgh in the last 20-plus years,” Hixon said. 

There are still some hurdles left to make the rink a full-time operation. 

“We have been looking at a more permanent type of rink with the city,” Hixon said. “For a whole host of reasons, we have not been able to bring that to fruition. We are hopeful this brings some momentum and excitement around it and maybe down the line we can create a year-round venue.”

He hopes that with time and support from the city, Chatham hockey can find a permanent home at the armory. With both teams’ contracts at their current rinks expiring soon, they are hoping to be able to stay at the armory. 

Besides the rink being seasonal, the rink would also need to install locker rooms. Currently, teams are getting dressed in party tents. These tents sit inside the current facility, but lack the basic needs of the teams’ normal locker rooms. They normally shower after they play, but are unable to due to these tents in use.

A shorter distance not only helps the hockey teams but also other Chatham students who want to go and support their games. 

The Hunt Armory ice rink is located at 324 Emerson St., Shadyside. Students can catch a bus or walk to the new rink from Chatham’s campus. Photo Credit: Liam Lyons for Chatham Athletics

The Hunt Armory opening is not just for the athletes to use. The rink is open to the public from 7-9 p.m. Fridays and 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Saturdays. On Sundays, it’s open from 2-4 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance and cost $7. If students are looking to rent skates, it will cost them an additional $3 fee. 

The rink is currently seasonal, so it will only be in operation until March 1. The Cougar hockey teams each have one game left to play at the Hunt Armory. The women face Stevenson on Feb. 4, while the men are scheduled to play Arcadia on Feb. 11.