Pittsburgh: City of Champions
Pittsburgh is at the top of its game when it comes to sports. It's a town that bleeds black and gold, the colors of its three professional sports teams – the Pirates, Penguins and Steelers.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are Pittsburgh's professional ice hockey team. They began playing in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a 1967 expansion team. The Penguins were Stanley Cup Champions for two consecutive years, 1992 and 1991, again in 2009, and most recently in 2016. The Civic or Mellon Arena (known informally as "The Igloo"), home of the Penguins for 43 years, has been demolished for multi-use space. Now, the team plays at CONSOL Energy Center, the first Gold-LEED Certified hockey arena in the NHL. In honor of Number 87, superstar Sidney Crosby, CONSOL's seating capacity is 18,087.
Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and nicknamed "The Next One," Sidney Crosby was one of the most highly regarded draft picks in NHL history. Crosby was drafted first overall by the Penguins in 2005.
In 1984, the last-placed Pittsburgh Penguins drafted an 18 year old kid from Montreal named Mario Lemieux, forever changing the face of professional hockey in Pittsburgh. Lemieux scores on his very first shift in his very first game, and goes on to collect four scoring titles, two season MVP awards and back to back Stanley Cup Championships. Today, Lemieux is another kind of hero as one of the owners of the Penguins. Lemieux purchased the team in 1999.
Originally named the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Pittsburgh Steelers are the oldest and most championed franchise in the AFC. The team was renamed the Steelers in 1941 after the city's prominent steel industry to reflect the "blue-collar worker" ethic of the many Pittsburgh fans – as well as to avoid confusion with the major league baseball team with the same name. The Steelers are the only team to have won the Super Bowl six times – most recently Super Bowl XLIII in 2009.
The Steelers and the University of Pittsburgh Panthers both play at Heinz Field, a football stadium that has a seating of capacity of 68,400. Heinz Field, which opened in August 2001, was built with a mixture of private and public funds to replace Three Rivers Stadium. This stadium was demolished in 2001.
Watching the Pittsburgh Pirates (nicknamed "The Bucs" or "Buccos") is a tradition in Pittsburgh. That tradition began when the team, then called the Pittsburgh Alleghenies, played their first National League game in 1887. In 1891, The Alleghenies were renamed Pirates, which went on to win five World Series.
In the spring of 2001, the Pirates began playing at PNC Park, a 38,496-seat classic-style ballpark that embraces the progressiveness of Pittsburgh while saluting the spirit of early ballpark originals such as Forbes Field, Wrigley Field and Fenway Park.
Opened in 2012, Highmark Stadium is the home of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds professional soccer team and the Pittsburgh Passion, professional women's football team. The stadium operates year-round and hosts training programs, games and tournaments for soccer, football, lacrosse, rugby and softball. Stadium users will include youth, high school, college, adult and professional athletes. Outdoor ice rinks are available in the winter for public skate and amateur hockey games. The stadium is also to be used for concerts and music events.
Its prime location along the shore of the Allegheny River takes advantage of scenic vistas of the downtown skyline and riverfront, as well as pedestrian and riverboat access. It also provides easy access for pedestrians crossing the Roberto Clemente Bridge from downtown, as well as those arriving from the riverwalk. On game days, the bridge is closed off to vehicular traffic and spectators are met by a dynamic interactive retail/restaurant and sports pavilion beyond right field, with attractions for all ages.
Sports lovers will want to visit the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum in the Senator John Heinz History Center. The museum showcases the legendary history of regional sports with one-of-a-kind artifacts and iconic photos.
Pittsburgh is the city of rivers, so it is only fitting that it be a premier location for water sports. The rivers are the perfect place for fishing, kayaking, canoeing and boating. From spring to fall, a kayak and canoe rental concession is open on the North Shore. Other river highlights include the annual Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta and the Head of the Ohio, a race featuring rowing teams from all over the globe.
Pittsburgh boasts 24-miles of riverfront and the region is home to a wealth of rails-to-trails recreation areas, as well. Off-trail, a unique blend of steep, winding hills and flat river areas make it one of the best cities for cycling enthusiasts.
The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is a 141-mile hiking and biking trail between Pittsburgh and Cumberland, MD. In Cumberland, the GAP joins the C&O Canal Towpath, creating a continuous 355-mile trail to Washington, D.C.
Rolling forested hills, rich farmland and sparkling rivers make Western Pennsylvania a visual treat, and it has some of the best golf in the United States. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has more golf courses per capita than any other U.S. state. Visitors can tee off at more than 100 public golf courses in the Pittsburgh area.