The National Hockey League is returning to Happy Valley.
We're bringing the @NHL back!— Penn State Athletics (@GoPSUsports) June 18, 2017
Coming to @PegulaIceArena:
__________ vs. __________.
Who ya got? Reply with your #NHLatPSU matchup guess. pic.twitter.com/E39Fbac7YM
This year’s participants have not yet been announced, though it’s safe to assume Terry and Kim Pegula’s Buffalo Sabres will take part this year (and every year that the Pegulas own the team).
Plenty of NHL teams have already announced their preseason schedule, with the remainder set to be made public this week. The Sabres’ opponent last season, the Minnesota Wild, don’t have a rematch scheduled.
The popular choices on Twitter include a matchup against Pennsylvania’s NHL squads, the Philadelphia Flyers and the reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Flyers have announced their preseason slate, one which doesn’t include a meeting against either the Penguins or Sabres. The Penguins, meanwhile, haven’t made their preseason schedule public, leaving open the possibility that they (and maybe even the Stanley Cup, we can hope) will be coming to Hockey Valley.
Also, there’s this:
I have cracked the code pic.twitter.com/XnqalIIxH9— Chris Godissart (@cgodissart) June 19, 2017
That’s some pretty conclusive evidence.
Last year’s matchup between the Sabres and Wild ended in stunning fashion, as Wild forward Jason Zucker netted the game-winning goal with 4.6 seconds remaining in the third period.
The matchup has been set. The Pegulas’ Buffalo Sabres and the reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins will square off at 7 p.m. on September 19.
JUST ANNOUNCED: the @BuffaloSabres will face off against the @penguins in #HockeyValley! https://t.co/m9PLn36Q2E#NHLatPSU pic.twitter.com/2MbmQ7xiZs— Penn State Athletics (@GoPSUsports) June 19, 2017
“The opportunity to once again host the Buffalo Sabres at Pegula Ice Arena and bring the NHL back to Hockey Valley is tremendously exciting,” Assistant Athletic Director Michael Cross told GoPSUSports. “Both the Sabres and Penn State learned numerous things from each other during last year’s event and building upon the relationships that were established around this game last year will add value for both organizations.”
Last years battle between the Sabres and the Minnesota Wild attracted plenty of attention as the first NHL preseason game at Pegula Ice Arena. This year’s duel may double down on that excitement, given the in-state draw and a potential cameo from the Stanley Cup.