Who are the Puffins?
The Pittsburgh Puffins are a developmental ice hockey team founded to provide a venue for women and non-gender conforming players ages 18+ to learn and play the sport of ice hockey in a team environment. They are a non-profit team. If you are interested in donating to the Puffins, please contact us.
What rules and regulations do the Puffins follow?
The Puffins are affiliated with USA Hockey and follow its rules and ethics. As a member of the East Coast Women's Hockey League (ECWHL), the Puffins also follow ECWHL regulations.
How many league games are played and what travel is required?
The Puffins are comprised of two teams based on skill level. The Puffins D team plays in the East Coast Women's Hockey League (ECWHL). The ECWHL season runs from October through early spring and is comprised of 12 regular season games (six home games, six away games) and a playoff weekend. The away games will be played in cities in the Maryland / Virginia / Washington, DC / Wheeling, WV regions. The Puffins board is currently researching tournament and other opportunities for the Puffins C team to play in for the 2022-2023 season.
When and where do the Puffins practice and play home games?
For the 2023-2024 season, the Puffins will practice at the Roy McKnight Hockey Center at Shady Side Academy (423 Fox Chapel Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15238). Practices will start in September 2023 and be on various Sunday afternoons (days/times subject to change). ECWHL home games will also be played at the Roy McKnight Hockey Center or another rink local to the Pittsburgh area.
How much commitment is required to join the Puffins?
These are the different ways you can participate with the Puffins, each with different required financial and time commitments:
Travel Puffins (D team): Participate in practices as well as all ECWHL regular season and playoff games. There are a limited number of travel positions; travel players from the prior season are given first choice to return.
Junior Puffins (D team): Participate in practices, and will likely play in games as the roster allows. When a Junior Puffin is invited to participate in games, a call-up fee may be assessed. If, at any time during the season a travel spot opens up, Junior Puffins may be asked to become a Travel Puffin by designation of the Coaches, Captains, and/or board.
C/D Travel Puffins: These players are invited to play in the D league because they have demonstrated a commitment to the improvement of lower level players. They are expected to represent the level of D play on the ice at all times. They may be asked to control their play and are expected to do so every time this is asked. They pay the same dues as D players. Failure to do any of the above may result in dismissal from D league play.
The Puffins also participate in occasional non-ECWHL games and scrimmages, at added out of pocket cost to players of all levels.
How much does it cost?
Puffins at each commitment level split costs evenly among players, so fees vary season to season depending on the roster size and the price of ice and refs. Costs for the 2023-2024 season are:
All Players: $51 for USA Hockey registration, $30 (approx.) for practice jerseys if needed.
Travel Puffin: $600 plus $88 for a home and away game jersey and socks (approx.), if needed. All goalies who travel are responsible only for Junior Puffin dues.
Junior Puffin: $80 plus a practice fee ($10/practice, approx.) and per-game call-up fee ($15/game, approx.).
The total season cost can be broken up into monthly payments in coordination with the Puffins Treasurer.
Travel dues do not include hotel, travel and accommodation for away games. Players are responsible for bringing/maintaining their own equipment (helmets, hockey pants, shin guards, etc). Puffins apparel such as jackets and track pants are not required but can be obtained at additional cost.
What’s the skill level of the Puffins?
Puffins practices and all non-ECWHL events are open to players of any skill level ages 18+.
The Puffins currently field a D team in the ECWHL. There is a wide range of beginner to intermediate skills in the this league, but there are some limits. Extreme beginners just learning to skate will likely not feel comfortable with the speed of D league games and may want to join as practice Puffins for a season or two prior to playing in league games.
Players with extensive hockey experience and/or recent NCAA-level college experience would be a better fit for the Puffins C team. The Puffins board is currently looking into opportunities
Where can I find the Puffins team guidelines for the season?
Click here for the 2023-2024 team guidelines.
Who are the Puffins coaches?
For the 2023-2024 season, our coach is:
Head Coach: Lee Johnson
Coach Lee has been a dedicated member of the Puffins coaching staff for eight seasons. He is committed to helping every Puffin reach her full potential and succeed.
How do the coaches determine ice time in league games?
Coaches encourage equal ice time for all players in a game, with some discretion in special situations as the game requires (power plays, penalty kill, empty net, etc).
How do the Puffins organize and manage the team?
The Puffins use TeamSnap for organizing team communications, availability and dues payments. Signing up for TeamSnap is free, and anyone who joins the team is required to join the Puffins TeamSnap account.
In addition, the Puffins team management is facilitated by an elected board of players.
Where can I follow the Puffins online?
How do I become a Puffin?
If you are interested in joining us for the upcoming season, contact us and let us know if you are interested in becoming a Travel Puffin, Junior Puffin, or a member of our C team. We can add you to our TeamSnap roster so you can receive team communications, and RSVP to our upcoming meetings and events.
What if I have more questions that weren’t answered here?