I have to be honest – I have a long-held belief that ‘the rink is no place for romance.’ It’s a place for blood, sweat and post-Stanley-Cup-win tears, but not romance. But a Pittsburgh couple challenged that theory and melted my cold hockey heart after a local cop popped the question on the ice at BladeRunners Ice Complex in Pittsburgh, PA on Thursday, June 12.

Gino Macioce and Heidi Heatherdale met six years ago at the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford and they have always enjoyed skating together and watching the Pittsburgh Penguins. With their shared love of hockey, Gino (the groom-to-be – not to be confused with the Russian centre who plays for the Penguins and is affectionately dubbed ‘Geno’ by his teammates) wanted to give Heidi a unique and memorable proposal. He planned the surprise a month in advance, even securing Pens mascot Iceburgh to help with the occasion.

Iceburgh hid the engagement ring in his beak.

Iceburgh hid the engagement ring in his beak.

 

The couple took to the ice at BladeRunners Ice Complex donned in their Penguins gear, set for a regular skate together – or so Pens fan Heidi thought. After casually skating around the rink together hand-in-hand, Iceburgh joined them and bent down on one knee to show Heidi the ring which was resting in his beak. Heidi turned around to see her then-boyfriend Gino also down on the ice on one-knee.

Penguins fan and local cop Gino on bended knee.

Penguins fan and local cop Gino on bended knee.

 

“Heidi, you’ve been the light, the world of my life for so long,” Gino said as he proposed. “I want to know if you will continue to be so and marry me and be my wife.”

She said yes! Iceburgh, after holding his hand to his heart, threw his arms up in the air in celebration after hearing Heidi’s words. A flightless bird himself, the Pittsburgh Penguins mascot obviously understands that penguins stay together for life.

Gino explained afterwards, “You know, she told me if I didn’t come up with a good engagement, she was gonna stay single.”

She said yes!

She said yes!

 

Heidi deemed the engagement more than good enough.

“He does go above and beyond to make me happy, he really does, but this is, like, way above and beyond what he’s ever done,” Heidi said. “He even offered to make me breakfast this morning and I was like, ‘Is this happening?’ That was romantic enough. It was perfect, I couldn’t think of anything better, really, to be honest.”

Ice, ice baby – the sapphire-encrusted rock.

Ice, ice baby – the sapphire-encrusted rock.

 

Heidi showed off her engagement ring and proudly explained, “He’s a police officer, so he’s kinda my man in blue, so that’s what the little sapphires on the side are for.”

I’m not crying. It’s just really dusty in here, okay.

Cheryl is a Life Coach and Leap Management Expert and a former PR professional. A British-born Canadian, Cheryl would have you believe she has been a hockey fan since birth, when in fact she emigrated from England in 2009 and soon fell in love with the sport. Now a Canadian Citizen, Cheryl cites the moment Sidney Crosby scored the golden goal in Vancouver 2010 as the moment she knew Canada was home. Since that fateful goal, Cheryl taught herself to skate at the local community rink and went on to realize her dream of skating on the ice at Roger’s Arena, where Team Canada won that gold medal. A hockey fan in the Vancouver market, Cheryl has an affection for the Canucks but is a secret Penguins fan.

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