'Icers Hit the Big Time'

Penn State's hockey team will be making three moves in two years. 2012 will mark active play as an independent school at the Division I level. 2013, Big Ten play, and finally the newly started project that is, Pegula Ice Arena.

Many changes are apparent here in 'Happy Valley', some were started last year with the hiring of Guy Gadowsky as new head hockey coach. 'Coach G' is preparing for what he believes will be the start of something great. "I don't think anyone is expecting a 29-5 record in our first D-1 season. That being said, that doesn't mean we won't have a successful season," Gadowsky told me. "There are other ways to look at a successful season in terms of the progress and the foundation we're building."

Many people often think of Penn State as a football school, but hockey is just around the corner.Gadowsky was thoroughly impressed with the enthusiasm around hockey at Nittany Lion nation. "You consistently see Penguins, Flyers, Sabres, and other NHL jerseys. The atmosphere for the ACHA club games at Greenberg Arena was excellent, just wait until you see what happens in the beautiful Pegula Ice Arena when we're hosting the nation’s top college hockey programs," said Gadowsky.

National Championships are constantly arriving in many forms around here so what are the chances we get a hockey banner in the next few years coach?
"Penn State is fortunate enough to be joining five of the strongest programs in all of college hockey for the inaugural season of the Big 10 conference in 2013," said Gadowsky. "Knowing the head start the other schools have on us in terms of tradition, experience and recruiting, it might be unrealistic to expect a parade on College Avenue in the spring of 2014."

"However with our great student body and the commitment of our staff and resources both Penn State and Terry Pegula have provided, I am confident we can put this program in a position to compete for Big 10 and National Championships in the future," said Gadowsky.

There is a saying around town that you may be familiar with, "WE ARE, PENN STATE!" We at Penn State are exactly that, together and proud. People are noticing and noticing quickly.

"Probably the most significant thing I've learned is how incredibly great and impressive the student body is at Penn State. I wanted to sit back and learn about what makes Penn State, Penn State. I truly believe one of the biggest reasons is the student body. They are not only passionate about all their sports teams, they are incredibly passionate about Penn State itself. You see it everywhere. They really pull together and act as one. A great example of this is how they raised $10.6 million for pediatric cancer," said Gadowsky. "Absolutely incredible and incredibly impressive."

Penn Staters' bring a certain aroma to being a fan, one that can't be found anywhere else, we see it all the time at Beaver Stadium, Bryce Jordan Center, Medlar Field, and at the Lorenzo Wrestling Complex. There isn't a single reason to believe we cant turn Pegula Ice Arena into Hockey Valley!

For additional information follow TJ ACKER on Twitter

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