Today, there’s a new sport emerging at Penn State.
Today, the Penn State men’s hockey team will take the ice in its first NCAA Division I game at Greenberg Ice Pavilion, determined to make State College more of a hockey town.
For as long as I can remember, Penn State’s main focus in sports has always been football. In general, football is known as “America’s sport,” while hockey is associated with Canada.
It’s time to focus a little on hockey in State College.
That’s not to say the community should shy away from Penn State football altogether — but people should give hockey a chance, if they haven’t already.
And if you’re already hockey fan, you’re probably waiting around for the lockout to end. Why not pass the time by watching a new varsity hockey team on campus?
“We do have a vision [of our team] in terms of creativity,” coach Guy Gadowsky said. “And we want to play great hockey that the fans here are going to love to watch. In that sense I’m very excited about it. We’ve got guys who you’re really going to enjoy watching and some of them are in very big frames as well.”
It wasn’t until a few years ago I actually started watching hockey. I grew up mostly watching football because my dad used to play, and he was never a huge hockey fan.
Once I came to Penn State, I met a bunch of friends from Pittsburgh, who were obviously huge hockey fans, and when they first mentioned Sidney Crosby, I said, “Who?”
Embarrassing, I know. I could tell you who was starting for the Steelers on Sunday night or the Red Sox batting line-up for the game the next day, but I didn’t know Crosby — one of the most well-known hockey players in the world.
The first game I ever watched was a match between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers. The rivalry between the two teams is enough to make the game exciting, but there were other things that also drew me in.
Hockey is one of the most physical sports I’ve ever watched. I never knew what was going to happen next, when the next fight would break or when a near impossible save would be made by a goalie.
I instantly loved hockey because of the thrill — and now, I’m going on three years of being a huge fan of the sport.
Whether you’re a hockey fan or not, the new men’s ice hockey team at Penn State should be exciting to watch.
The game is fast-paced, with players constantly skating, checking and shooting. There’s hardly a dull moment when players are fighting for a chance to become pro or a chance to win. This specific team is also fighting to make an identity for itself in its first varsity season.
This year, the team will also have Pegulaville — a spin-off of Nittanyville — which means there will be an exciting student section. Next year, the Big Ten will have hockey for the first time in history, and Penn State is a part of that. The team will also have a new ice arena that is currently under construction as a result of benefactor Terry Pegula.
“It will be the best college conference in the nation and to be a part of it is an honor,” Gadowsky said of the Big Ten. “We understand how tough it is, but that is why you come to Penn State, to compete against the best.”
Gadowsky consistently promises hockey fans that his team would be a fun one to watch.
And from watching the team’s first practice Monday, they’re not the Icers anymore — a club team at Penn State.
They’re faster, stronger and more exciting, with new players. They’re the new NCAA Division I Nittany Lions.