Head coach Guy Gadowsky said the jersey unveiling could mark the start of the new NCAA Division-I men’s ice hockey team, but he’s looking forward to a lot more.
Penn State men’s ice hockey unveiled their new jerseys Tuesday for their inaugural Division-I season, which begins on Oct. 12 against American International. The jersey is a classic Penn State design with the Nittany Lion logo front-and-center and plain blue-and-white colors.
“I think it’s a great step,” Gadowsky said. “There’s going to be a lot of firsts that we’re going to be excited about - the first D-I win, the first D-I goal, the first you name it. There’s going to be a ton of firsts as we go along.”
Sophomores Tommy Olczyk and Max Gardiner were the two to wear and present the jerseys. Olczyk echoed his coach on how the unveiling was an exciting mark for the new season.
“Today’s the first day we’ve seen them,” Olczyk said. “It’s pretty surreal that all of this is coming together - the jerseys are just the beginning of it.”
Gardiner said all of the players on the team are equally excited to get the season started.
“It’s going to be awesome to be the first Division-I team here at Penn State. It’s an honor to be a part of, and we’re really excited to get it going here,” Gardiner said.
Their new jerseys may be a new look for the men’s hockey team, but Gadowsky said he doesn’t want their identity to change.
The team is also transitioning from the Icers to the new NCAA Division-I Nittany Lions and Gadowsky assured everyone that the team will be the same with just a bit more power.
“We should be a very hard team to play,” Gadowsky said. “We’re going to be good in the gritty areas, and that’s sort of where the size comes, but it doesn’t change how we play, maybe enhances things.”
Gadowsky said he wants his team to try and use both speed and creativity, the form of play that made him fall in love with hockey. He said while there’s a million concerns for the new season, there isn’t anything negative he’s seen.
But the head coach does have yet to get on the ice with his team, as official practice starts Oct. 6. Gadowsky emphasized exactly how long he has to prepare his team to officially be in the Big Ten.
“We’ve got 12 months to prepare for Big Ten hockey,” he said. “And Big Ten hockey is the best in the nation, those programs are giants on a national level.”
A worry of cohesiveness came up, since this team is very new, but Gadowsky said he’s not particularly worried about that.
“It’s a point of emphasis for sure, still, it’s extremely important,” Gadowsky said. “The foundation to us is extremely important, and that’s easy to say but very difficult to do… but it’s something I’m not worried about because I haven’t seen anything to worry us yet.”
Just talking about hockey, someone could tell Gadowsky is getting excited to get the new season started. When he was asked exactly how excited, he could barely answer the question at first.
“I’ve been anxious -- I mean -- I’m so excited -- I can’t wait,” Gadowsky said. “Really as I mentioned before, at this time of year, it’s really exciting…right now we’re looking at 28 guys that have a chance to play D-I hockey, and we’re really curious how they’re going to do it.”
Gadowsky added he may be more excited for a specific group of guys that have been waiting longer.
“Honestly, I’m really excited, but I may be even more so for the guys that came here to play club hockey and get the opportunity to play D-I and have been working so hard to give themselves the best chance.
“Those are the guys I’m most excited for.”
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