Increased emphasis on security because of the Boston Marathon bombings greeted Pittsburgh athletes and others Tuesday.
"I think it is only going to lead to heightened security at events like ours. I know they will be taking a little more security, a little heightened security, in upcoming events here, at our games and the other events at the Consol. Since 9/11 we've had some types of security that you always have a reminder of the possibility at a big venue with a lot of people," said coach Dan Bylsma.
At least four Pittsburgh police officers and two police dogs took position inside Consol Energy Center before Penguins practice began at 11 a.m. The beefed-up security was unusual.
Arena management asked for extra officers until further notice, said Lt. Thomas Atkins, who schedules off-duty officers to work there.
“They want people at every door, every entrance, and they'll have people outside looking for anything out of the ordinary,” Atkins said.
The Penguins said they started planning increased security Monday afternoon after two bombs exploded near the finish line in Boston, killing three people and injuring 176. More measures are set for the game Wednesday evening against the Montreal Canadiens.
“It's not business as usual when something like this happens,” team CEO and President David Morehouse said.
Penguins players Brooks Orpik and Craig Adams, who both attended college in Massachusetts, told Channel 11’s Bill Phillips that Monday’s bombings hit close to home.
The Penguins are scheduled to play in Boston on Friday.
The team issued a statement about the increased security, saying “For obvious reasons, we do not want to identify all of those measures, but we are asking fans to arrive a bit earlier for games and events.”
The increase brings to 10 the number of off-duty officers working inside and immediately around the event center, Atkins said.
“It's an important thing, especially with what happened yesterday,” he said. “You have to be proactive. They're doing what I feel is the correct move.”
Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.