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.
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.
“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.”
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.”
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.