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The Pittsburgh Penguins, Covestro, and Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering will host their second annual Make-a-thon, kicking off year two of the “Rethink the Rink” initiative. The unlikely trio joined forces last year in this first-of-its kind collaboration to make hockey safer at all levels. As it continues to shoot for a safer game, Rethink the Rink 2019 will focus on a new aspect of hockey innovation—player safety equipment.

Watch the video to learn more about the evolution of Rethink the Rink


“When we started this a year ago, the focus was on redesigning the boards and glass in an attempt to make the game safer for players of all ages,” said David Morehouse, president and CEO of the Penguins. “This year’s project focuses on the players’ equipment, and could involve everything from helmets and gloves to shoulder pads to goalie masks.”

The Make-a-thon will bring together diverse teams of CMU engineering students for a weeklong ideation event at the school’s makerspace, starting today through March 15. The students will have access to advanced materials and technical expertise from Covestro, as they explore ways to further improve upon protective equipment that is already designed for player safety. Their challenge is to uncover material solutions that will strengthen player protection, without inhibiting player performance.

But this year’s Make-a-thon participants have a starting advantage over last year’s cohort.

We’re a stronger, more practiced team, having made significant progress since our first Make-a-thon.

Jerry MacCleary, Chairman and CEO, Covestro LLC

“We’re a stronger, more practiced team, having made significant progress since our first Make-a-thon,” said Jerry MacCleary, chairman and CEO of Covestro LLC. “We’ve spent the better part of a year transforming those initial ideas and concepts into a next-generation dasher board prototype, which is in production now. There’s a lot of momentum behind this effort, and it will continue to grow as the initiative evolves.”

This week, the students will design and develop basic prototypes, which will be unveiled during a presentation and awards ceremony March 15. The ceremony will take place in the newly named Covestro Innovation Rink at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry.

“We now have a literal innovation arena to test the concepts and ideas coming out of Rethink the Rink. It’s a fitting backdrop for a collaboration that is already pushing boundaries and delivering promising results,” said MacCleary.

“When students learn to leverage each other’s backgrounds in different disciplines to solve a common challenge, they gain a valuable experience in real-world teamwork,” said Jonathan Cagan, interim dean of the College of Engineering. “When you add in coaching from the professional experts from Covestro and the Penguins to guide their problem-solving process, it’s a win-win situation.”