Hockey Draws a (Media) Crowd
The talk was all about the new arena and the new Big Ten ice hockey conference as Penn State men’s coach Guy Gadowsky and six of his players met with the news media today, 11 days before the start of the season.
About 40 reporters crowded into the media room at the brand-new Pegula Ice Arena this afternoon; that’s probably more than will show up game in and game out, but still, it was an impressive turnout. Here are a few notes from the media session:
—Gadowsky says the new arena has raised Penn State’s visibility as he and his coaches recruit throughout the country and in Canada: “We’ve received as much excitement outside State College as in State College, even across the border.”
—He promises an aggressive, crowd-pleasing style of play: “I think we play a fun, exciting brand of hockey: Go hard to the net, put shots on goal. That will excite our fans.”
—NCAA rules prescribe a very short period of official practices before the season starts. The team has been having “captain’s practices,” but the coach-run practices won’t start until this Friday, Oct. 4—and the season starts just a week later. (Gadowsky says he doesn’t know a hockey coach in America who wouldn’t like to see that rule changed.)
—Three players are fighting it out for the role of goalkeeper: junior PJ Musico, sophomore Matthew Skoff, and freshman Eamon McAdam. “The goalies are just thrilled to work together,” Skoff says, “and we feed off each other.” If Gadowsky has any inkling as to which one will get the nod, he isn’t saying.
—The team, understandably, is very happy to be in the new Pegula Arena. “We’re very fortunate, very spoiled,” says Skoff. One of his favorite parts is the student section, which is directly behind the visiting team’s goalie. Says Skoff: “I feel bad for the opposing goaltender coming in here.”
—Penn State hockey is only in its second year as a varsity sport; it obviously doesn’t have the same tradition as teams like Michigan and Minnesota. But the Nittany Lions are hoping to surprise some people this year. According to defenseman Nate Jensen, “We like the underdog role.”
Tina Hay, editor