Vince Pedrie was the first offensively-gifted defenseman that the Penn State program ever had. He announced late Monday night via social media that he is leaving the program to pursue a professional career.
While Pedrie had two years of college eligibility remaining, this isn’t really a case of a player leaving early. On January 17 he turned 23 years old, a great age to join the fray in minor-league hockey and also a natural time to leave a college campus. Like many other college hockey players, Pedrie spent four seasons playing in the USHL prior to joining Penn State.
When Pedrie signed to join the Lions a few years ago, this is what he had to say about his decision, “I chose Penn State because it presented the absolute best academic and athletic opportunity I could ever have hoped for.” At the time only the most optimistic-minded person could have imagined that PSU would go on to enjoy its first winning seasons, making the NCAA Elite Eight for the first time in program history to boot, during his two-season tenure. What could have been seen as a gamble at the time, joining a program with no promise of being seen nationally, paid off tenfold.
The Lions got more attention this season than anyone could have possibly imagined, culminating with a nationally-televised semi-final NCAA Tournament game with No. 1 seed Denver, and Pedrie was the face of the squad on defense. His leadership, grit, and scoring abilities were on full display for all to see. It’s not surprising that the Rangers scooped him up quickly.
This is what Pedrie had to say about his decision to leave Penn State.
BREAKING: Per his Facebook account, Penn State Hockey sophomore defenseman Vince Pedrie to forgo last two seasons to sign with @NYRangers pic.twitter.com/h6aOq2b4a2— Black Shoe Diaries (@BSDtweet) March 28, 2017
Pedrie meant much more to the team than just his numbers, while they were great. He had 8 goals in each of his two seasons in Hockey Valley, and added 14 assists his freshman season and 21 this past year. He also led the Lions in shots on goal for two years running, with a total of 118 in 2015-16 and a whopping 167 this year.
It was his leadership and courage under duress that meant the most to the 2016-17 Lion squad. He was vocal on the ice, an advocate to the referees when one of his teammates got whistled for an infraction or if the guys in striped uniforms neglected to call a penalty. His steady demeanor, with a fire lit in his belly at all times, was exactly what the young, talented Lions needed to compliment the new-found skill that joined the team in October.
This is a loss for Penn State, but one that can be overcome. The lure of Penn State University to prospective hockey recruits has grown immensely in the past couple of seasons. Hockey Valley is now a very attractive destination.
We wish you the best, Vince. Thank you for all of the great work that you have done for the hockey program, and for being a very respectable ambassador for Penn State University as well. Make us all proud. We will follow your career and path in life moving forward.