Craving Ice? Think the Rink at PPG Place By Janice Lane Palko

Usually by this time of the year, the hockey season in full swing, but this year with the NHL strike, you and your friends and family may be finding yourselves with a craving for some ice.  If so, you need not wait until the hockey situation gets resolved, all you need to do is head to PPG Place, where you can satisfy that urge with a spin on the ice. 


 On November 16, the Rink at PPG Place opened for its 12th  year of fun, making it one of the area’s most beloved holiday traditions, ranking up there with the old Horne’s Christmas tree, the department store window displays at the former Kaufmann’s and now Macy’s and the holiday flower show at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden.

 “We have skated over 500,000 skaters in our more than 11 seasons at the Rink at PPG Place,” said Byron Sharp, president of Magic Ice USA.  “And every year it gets bigger and better.”

 The Rink at PPG Place was first installed in December 2001.  “The management of PPG Place recognized our ability to provide a great venue for holiday family fun and that we had a great business model.   We were recommended to those in charge, and after we met with them

, we were extended an agreement.  It’s been extended every year since,” Sharp said. 

 Magic Ice employs local residents to build, run and disassemble the facility.  “Some of our employees are adults, many of whom who have gone on to higher education and other careers,” Sharp said. 

 When first entering PPG Place when the rink and the Christmas are there, it feels as if you’ve entered into a Department 56 Village scene.   Skaters glide past the towering Christmas tree whose twinkling lights reflect in a thousand diamonds on the glass columns of the PPG Building, creating a magical winter wonderland.

 It is a favorite destination for family outings, field trips, birthday parties, special college nights or private ice parties.  Group rates are offered and there is convenient, adjacent parking.  There is also a snack bar..

 Magic Ice USA’s magic is spreading.  “Currently, we have 33 locations across the country from Monterrey, Calif., to Raleigh, N.C. to St. Augustine, Fla.,” Sharp said.  “The concept is really expanding and catching on with cities as a way to draw people into their city for the holidays.”

 But the fun doesn’t end when the holidays are over.  The rink will be open until March 10, and then it takes Magic Ice USA a month to six weeks to take the rink down. 

 “We provide the very best in family recreation, and we are delighted to be back in Pittsburgh again.  We have a wonderful relationship with the people at PPG Place, and we hope they will always want us back,” Sharp said.

 The rink will be open Monday through Thursday:  11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday:  11 a.m. to midnight; Sunday noon to 8 p.m.  For more information, visit or call 412-394-3641.