By Samantha Carricato
SHARPSBURG, Pa. – Students play dek hockey every few days in Penn Hills and out of town tournaments to relieve stress, for fun and for a means of exercising.
Adults, kids and students from all over Pittsburgh come together every few days and get together at the Greater Pittsburgh Dek Hockey Center in Penn Hills to play.
Dek hockey is very similar to regular ice hockey, except it’s played on feet instead of ice skates and not on ice but on a deck and a ball is used instead of a puck.
According to the Greater Pittsburgh Dek Hockey Center in Penn Hills, the teams have 11 total players including a goalie. The fee for a season is $450.00 for a team. A season usually lasts about two to three months and there are five seasons in each year.
The fee that the teams have to pay per season goes toward regular maintenance. Running a dek, electric bill for lights, scoreboard and general maintenance are numerous things that can cost money.
As for rules, dek hockey is run pretty much the same as regular ice hockey. However, there are three 10 minute periods in dek hockey instead of the 20 minute periods that are played in ice hockey.
Jason Panza, a senior at Duquesne University is a captain for his dek hockey team. Panza grew up in Sharpsburg and went to Fox Chapel High School. During Panza’s four years at Fox Chapel, he played football and track. He didn’t pursue any sports during his four years at Duquesne and when asked why he said, “I wanted to focus on studying and felt like I didn’t have time to devote to both a sport and my studies.”
Panza hasn’t been playing Dek Hockey long but loves to play. Since Panza is a team captain, he believes that, “It teaches me how to be organized and a team leader.”
Anthony Schulli, also a resident of Sharpsburg and a Fox Chapel High School graduate who played football, wrestling and track while in high school, just started playing Dek Hockey after Panza came to him asking him to play because his team was short a player. Schulli accepted the offer and played a few games and plans to continue. He is a junior at La Roche College. He currently doesn’t play any sports for his college, but likes to play dek hockey, “Because it’s really good exercise.” Schulli said.
George Salerno, a resident of Shaler and a graduate of North side Urban Pathways also plays Dek Hockey. Salerno didn’t attend college but decided to work right after high school with his father. He likes to play Dek Hockey, “To stay active and to have fun,” he said. In January, Salerno will be traveling to Philadelphia to play in a dek hockey tournament for another team he plays for.
Salerno said, “If I didn’t play dek hockey, I would probably just work more hours a week.”
As for Panza, he said, “I would probably just sit around all day and play video games. I know I would never have the motivation to start working out.”
Dek Hockey doesn’t have too many fans. One true fan is Jason Panza’s girlfriend, Theresa Reynolds; Reynolds goes to every game she can and started running the scoreboard for the guys.
Reynolds said, “The guys don’t have much support so I come and cheer them on. I also really like to watch the fights.”
Just like ice hockey, Dek Hockey also has its share of fights. Fights can break out over anything and at anytime. Most of the fights usually come from the roughness the guys display while playing. Dek Hockey is just as rough of a sport as regular ice hockey.