Gary Roberts has become legendary for his work ethic, training, conditioning, nutrition and strength late in his career and transitioning into retirement where he has developed programs for many NHL players, including Steven Stamkos and James Neal, who swear by his techniques.
So too do the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are announcing today that Roberts will lead their "sports performance" at the brand-new, still under construction training facility in Cranberry that's been dubbed the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. From a press release:
Roberts, 48, will oversee the philosophy and off-ice training regimen at a Sports Performance Center that, while straddling both rinks at the complex, will focus on hockey but encompass athletes of every sport. He also will consult with the full-time UPMC staff who, along with him, will work personally with players from every echelon of hockey – professional, collegiate, junior, youth (including the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite) – as well as athletes of all ages and levels, including a morning program for business executives.
The UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex is scheduled to open its doors in August as the Penguins’ practice home, a community hockey and sports development, and a public sports medicine facility with 24 exam rooms, physical therapy areas, imaging and more.
There are reports that Roberts will still be running his center in Toronto as well (where all those non-Penguin players train) but it's definitely a big plus and a huge organizational advantage to add a well respected player and subject matter expert as "the name, face and attitude" of the Pens training programs.
The NHL has a salary cap on player payroll, but there is no limit for additional perks like this. The Pens already have Consol Energy Center, one of the newest (and nicest) arenas in hockey that features a huge stick room, workout facility, training areas and luxurious player lounge. And this new Lemieux facility in Cranberry (set to open this June) looks even better. From a Trib article last April, check out some of these perks:
The complex will include a two-story, 185,000-square-foot facility with the two ice rinks for amateur hockey, figure skating and public skating when not in use by the Penguins.
The Penguins will have an NHL-quality locker room and weight room and use of the rinks for practice sessions; training and development camps; and youth clinics. There also will be 14 locker rooms available for amateur and high school hockey teams.
All this adds up to what has to be the best and newest facilities in the NHL, something that team owner Mario Lemieux has been striving for, obviously knowing first-hand the advantages that ownership can offer the players to make every effort to provide what they need to be at their best. That's awesome and adding a warrior-leader like Gary Roberts to the fold makes it even better and should be a huge benefit for the Penguins in years to come.