Cat® Machines Lay the Foundation for Complex That Brings Together Hockey, Medicine & Community

Sidney Crosby. Evgeni Malkin. Marc-Andrew Fleury. Oh, and Mario Lemieux. If you’re a hockey fan, you know those names. And if you’re rehabbing from an injury in the Pittsburgh area, you just might rub elbows with them during treatment. It’s all thanks to a one-of-a-kind new facility built by the Pittsburgh Penguins and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), with the help of Cat® equipment.

“It’s a totally new concept—there’s no facility quite like it in the world,” says Matt Herr, the executive director and general manager of the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, which is named after Penguins’ owner and National Hockey League legend Mario Lemieux. “It combines the world-class medical side of UPMC with one of the premier development sites for hockey anywhere in the world.”

A Destination for Athletes of All Ages & Skill Levels

Featuring two full-size ice rinks with approximately 1,500 seats, along with training and locker rooms, a video viewing area, executive offices and more, the 185,000-square-foot complex serves as the Penguins’ new practice and training home. Another 54,000 square feet are dedicated to UPMC Sports Medicine’s orthopedic, primary care, physical therapy, concussion, imaging and sports performance services—which include a physical therapy gym that overlooks the Penguins’ practice rink.

“You could be rehabbing on an exercise bike while you’re watching Sidney Crosby practice,” Herr says. “That’s not an experience you can find anywhere else.”

The complex, which opened in mid-August, also welcomes the general public. There’s a 1,500-square-foot hockey skills training area, open skating sessions, community locker rooms, private event spaces, a natural foods café and a PensGear retail store.

“We had 5,000 people in the building in just the first few days,” Herr says. “We’ve had birthday parties, open skates, a Mite Jamboree with hundreds of six- to eight-year-old players, United States Hockey League games and more. We built this for more than hockey and medicine—it’s for the community.”

Versatile, Emissions-Compliant Equipment & a Committed Team

Overseeing construction of the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex was Pittsburgh-based firm PJ Dick, which both managed the many contractors on site and took on all the concrete work. The company rented three Cat excavators and a skid steer loader from local Cat dealer Cleveland Brothers to perform excavation and prep work for the complex’s structural foundations.

“You can go to anybody and rent an excavator that’s been abused, and you’re risking your production,” says PJ Mudar, the engineer on the project. “We chose Caterpillar because of the quality of the equipment. I can honestly say I’ve yet to have a major service issue with a Cat machine.”

In addition, all four pieces of Cat equipment were compliant with Tier 4 Final emissions regulations, a requirement on the jobsite.

“UPMC is committed to a healthy and clean environment on all of their sites, and they have strict standards as far as emissions go,” Mudar says. “Tier 4 had just been implemented when we started the project, so there wasn’t a lot of equipment out there ready to go. But the Cat machines were, and UPMC was very impressed with the Tier 4 documentation.”

The versatility and maneuverability of the Cat equipment was another big benefit.

“The structural foundations were right on top of each other, which required maneuverable, compact machines,” Mudar says. “We were able to do all the work with those three Cat excavators, so we didn’t have to bring in any additional, smaller equipment. That saved us time and money.”

And timing was critical, as UPMC and the Penguins wanted the complex completed as soon as possible. Working six days a week, PJ Dick had the foundations up in just over a month, a huge feat given the project’s complexity. But Mudar says it didn’t take much to convince the team to put in extra effort.

“Pittsburgh is a sports town with a rich history and a lot of pride in our teams,” he says. “Everyone was excited to work on this project—everyone wanted to work on it. People were happy to work overtime, and everybody pulled their weight.”

Members of the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins signed this Cat® Multi Terrain Loader, which was used by contractor PJ Dick in the construction of the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

Tier 4 Next Generation Products

Every Tier 4 Final engine is equipped with a combination of proven electronic, fuel, air and aftertreatment components that lets us meet your high expectations for productivity, fuel efficiency, reliability and service life.

Learn More

299D Compact Track Loader

The Cat® 299D Compact Track Loader, with its vertical lift design, delivers extended reach and lift height for quick and easy truck loading.

View Product