After performing in front of a sold-out crowd at Greenberg Ice Pavilion for the last time Saturday, the men’s hockey team went straight down the street to the Bryce Jordan Center to perform in front of thousands more.
But instead of sporting their contemporary, plain blue-and-white hockey jerseys, they took the stage for IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon Pep Rally in something a bit more eccentric.
The players wore neon-colored shorts of various colors — yellow, blue, pink and orange — with socks to match. On the top, the team chose either a blue or white pinney that read ‘Penn State Hockey.’
Coach Guy Gadowsky said he wasn’t able to catch the performance, but looked it up on YouTube afterward. His response to how good they performed started with a smile, followed by a laugh, a shoulder shrug and a short, “Eh, alright.”
He moved to a serious note and said the night was very important for the team, especially because of their THON child, Colton Buckley.
“They really are proud to be a part of it,” Gadowsky said. “I know that. It’s something they’ve talked about. Colton’s important to our team. THON’s important to our team.”
Gadowsky said they prepared a while for the Pep Rally by practicing after meetings or in the weight room.
Freshman goalie Matthew Skoff said his first experience at the event was “pretty cool.” He said he’s never seen anything like THON. The goaltender tried to put the moment into perspective when he was on stage.
“I don’t know the total number of people that are allowed in that place, but when you get on stage it’s kind of like an ‘Ah’ moment,” Skoff said.
Gadowsky said he had the chance to experience THON for the first time last year, but this year was his first year speaking to the near 15,000-person crowd.
He said when he was looking at the head-coaching job at Penn State, his sister sent him a few clips about “what Penn State is.” He said one of the clips included one from THON.
“I truly believe this is the greatest university in the world, and I believe that’s the greatest thing in the greatest university in the world,” Gadowsky said. “It just blows me away, it makes me extremely proud to be a part of this university and it makes me really proud of our student body.”
He said the one thing that highlighted his experience of speaking for the first time was being able to share it with Colton.
“To be able to go on stage with Colton and have him there — when he yells, ‘We are,’ and the whole place, it just doesn’t get better than that,” he said. “It’s fantastic.”