Neighborhood and Built Environment

The impact of the built environment on community health and safety goes beyond just having physical spaces available for community use - although that’s a large part of it. It involves creating programs and resources that provide tangible solutions to common obstacles influencing community members’ physical, mental and emotional health.

These solutions include programs that enhance one’s sense of wellbeing and encourage healthy interpersonal living conditions, address access (or lack of access) to transportation, mitigate environmental risk factors such as poor air quality, water and sanitation, and build infrastructure such as trails and bike programs, for community recreation and exercise.

Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Hunt Armory

Southwestern Pennsylvania

bright blue futures poster banner inside the hunt armory

Since opening its doors in 2021 as Pittsburgh’s first indoor community ice rink in 25 years, the Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Hunt Armory Ice Rink has cemented its reputation as a pillar of the community by championing youth both on and off the ice, through the power of hockey.The Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Hunt Armory has provided opportunities to community members who previously did not have access to public rinks. 

The facility is now the headquarters for the Penguins’ diversity and community programming, advancing its mission to increase community access to the game of ice hockey across Pittsburgh and beyond, and to house several programs targeting increased diversity within the sport.

After the success of the seasonal rink in 2021, programming will expand in this year’s season. With the support of Highmark’s Bright Blue Futures program - which is designed to enable healthier, brighter, stronger futures for all - programming with a focus on diversity will increase, including Learn to Skate, Learn to Play, and Try Hockey for Free, an after-school instructional hockey program in partnership with Obama Academy, free community organization skate nights, skating for Pittsburgh I.C.E., Pittsburgh Public Schools and other academies, and special hockey.

The rink will also launch a hockey league in partnership with the Pittsburgh Warriors, with a focus on physical and mental healing for veterans. The league is the first of its kind in North America, comprised entirely of veterans with service-connected disability.

Through its work with the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and support from Highmark and other founding partners, the Armory has become a hub for league-leading diversity, community programming and affordable public skating and hockey.