Posts tagged ‘Joe Battista’

The Penn Stater Daily — Feb. 13, 2014

ESPN's John Buccigross buddies up with some Penn State hockey fans at last week's game.

ESPN’s John Buccigross buddies up with some Penn State hockey fans at last week’s game.

He gets it: Famed ESPN sportscaster John Buccigross paid a visit (his first ever) to Happy Valley last week for the Penn State v. Michigan men’s hockey game. The result is this great story, posted to Buccigross’s Hockey Life blog, about how Big 10 hockey came to be at Penn State — and how the entire community is embracing it. And you’ve got to love Buccigross’s apt description of Penn State hockey icon Joe Battista ’83—”a human energy drink.”

No more roadblocks: UPUA president Katelyn Mullen announced yesterday that the Board of Trustees is expected to approve a proposal that would add a permanent, student-selected trustee to the board— a position that isn’t currently required by BOT bylaws. The current board, however, has supported the bill since UPUA proposed it last August. Said Mullen: “The Board … has put the new policy on the most expedient schedule possible. President Masser has met with Governor Corbett and there are no roadblocks right now, to my understanding.” For more on how the student trustee will be selected, check out Onward State‘s coverage here.

High hoops: After last night’s big comeback over Indiana, here’s more good news for the men’s basketball team: senior guard Tim Frazier is a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, presented to an “exceptional” Division I student-athlete and chosen by the national media. And it’s no surprise that Lady Lion Maggie Lucas is a finalist for the women’s award, as well. Vote for both Frazier and Lucas by March 24 here. Winners will be announced during the NCAA Final Four.
Mary Murphy, associate editor



February 13, 2014 at 11:59 am 1 comment

Joe Battista Leaves Penn State to ‘Dream New Dreams’

DSC_8939_Joe_BattistaNow that Penn State has both men’s and women’s varsity ice hockey teams and a spectacular new hockey arena, it’s hard to remember a time not long ago when it all was just a pipe dream.

Until September 2010, when Penn State announced that historic gift of $88 million from Kim and Terry Pegula ’73, ice hockey was a club sport, and it was played on a rink that had audience seating on one side only. (The folklore is that there simply hadn’t been enough money to build a facility with grandstands on both sides.) And while the Icers, under head coach Joe Battista ’83, were among the finest club teams in the country—winning six national club championships—the idea of upgrading to varsity status was just out of the question. Too expensive.

And then, maybe five years ago, in part because of a relationship formed between Battista and Pegula, rumors started swirling that the Icers’ dream might actually come true. Our senior editor Ryan Jones ’95 tells the tale of how the dream finally did come true in the cover story of our Sept./Oct. issue.


Battista as an Icer in the early ’80s.

I have a clear memory of waiting to cross College Avenue over lunch hour one day a few years back and seeing Joe (who by then was a fundraiser for Penn State) stopped at the stoplight. He rolled down the window, we exchanged hellos, and I said, offhandedly, “What are you up to these days?” And he replied with a big grin, “I’m trying to get us a hockey arena!”

Today, less than three weeks after the opening of the 6,000-seat Pegula Ice Arena, Penn State announced that Battista—who came here as a freshman in 1978 and, except for a four-year stint after his graduation in 1983, has been associated with Penn State ever since—is leaving the university. Effective Nov. 8, he’ll step down from his current role as associate athletic director for the Pegula Ice Arena and hockey development in order to go work for Pegula’s company, East Management Services, as its vice president of hockey related businesses. (Pegula owns the Buffalo Sabres and is also developing two public rinks in Buffalo, among other hockey ventures.)

In the news release today, Battista talked about the Pegula Arena and the launching of men’s and women’s ice hockey as the culmination of a dream for him. “While this dream has come true,” he said, “it is now time for me to set new goals and dream new dreams.”

Speaking on behalf of his wife, Heidi, and himself, he added: “We will continue to proudly support Penn State and wear the blue and white forever.”

Tina Hay, editor

October 29, 2013 at 6:36 pm Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Oct. 11, 2013

Yeah, it’s raining. The Campus Weather Service just tweeted about a new record for daily rainfall. But it’s still a pleasant day around here—it’s the start of Homecoming weekend. There are already students staking out their positions on College Avenue for the Homecoming parade, and there was a Berkey Creamery truck parked here at the Hintz Family Alumni Center when I walked in this morning, so it looks like we’ll be well-stocked for this afternoon’s ice cream social. Stop by!

And in the meantime, check out these stories to get you in a Penn State mood:

It’s a wedding night—er, hockey night—in State College: My favorite one-liner in the buildup to the opening of the Pegula Ice Arena comes from Terry Pegula himself, who apparently hasn’t been inside the arena. Joe Battista ’83, the director of hockey operations, says Pegula ’73 explains it like this: “Why spoil it? I’ll wait for the wedding night.” All the pieces are in place, with Army getting the all-clear to travel despite the government shutdown for tonight’s sold-out opener. If Pegula—or anyone reading—needs a little help getting his bearing on the first trip to the building, this infographic from the Centre Daily Times is terrific.

A silent leader, and a must-read: You’ve got to check out this profile of defensive tackle DaQuan Jones, which is one of the nicest pieces I’ve read about a Penn State football player in a while. The author: Collegian writer Anna Orso, who got Jones to open up about how he took care of his siblings while their mother was in jail and about an unusual path to Penn State—and becoming a leader for the Lions, who of course play Michigan at 5 p.m. Saturday in what is shaping up as the season’s first sellout.

Flipping out: How does Blue Band drum major Chris Siergiej practice the flip? Only after 800 milligrams of ibuprofen, and only early in the week. You don’t want to pound your legs too much before the big game. Learn more about this and other tidbits about life as the drum major in this Q&A with Schreyer Honors College intern Julia Kern.

Virtual Homecoming: If you’re not coming to town, you can still experience the Homecoming parade. For the ninth consecutive year, students from the College of Communications are producing a live webcast. Tune in here at 6 p.m. And click here to read about the students in COMM 383A, Webcast Production, and the faculty member, Maria Cabrera-Baukus.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

October 11, 2013 at 10:16 am Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Sept. 26, 2013

From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.

Icebreaker: When I toured the Pegula Ice Arena back in February, Joe Battista ’83 painted an amazingly vivid picture of all the amenities (a synthetic practice rink! skate-repair rooms! Subway!) that had yet to be built. So checking out this slideshow, posted yesterday on, felt a little like deja vu. So cool to see it all come together.

Sorry, sunbathers: Construction on the HUB-Robeson Center is in full swing, and the bookstore is…on the lawn. While the Barnes and Noble-operated bookstore is undergoing renovations, 28 trailers on the HUB lawn will serve as the temporary location until July, giving former sunbathers and frisbee-lovers plenty of time to catch up on their reading.

Book talk: Speaking of books, two new titles from Penn Staters are making news. Chip Kidd’s latest, Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design, is an intro to graphic design for kidds kids. “I was out of my comfort zone,” Kidd ’86 tells Wired mag in this Q&A. “but it helped me to rethink everything about graphic design again—never a bad thing.” Also, Penn State Harrisburg prof John Haddad‘s new book, America’s First Adventure in China, explores the origins of America’s relationship with China. Haddad researched the book during his Fulbright grant experience in China in 2010-11, where he taught American studies, pop culture and literature at the University of Hong Kong.


Sunrise, sunset: Mount Nittany (@MtNittany) has been sharing some fantastic photos on Twitter lately, like this lovely sunrise, taken by meteorology student Dakota Smith (@weatherdak). Almost makes you want to wake up early and see it in person, doesn’t it? Almost.

Mary Murphy, associate editor

September 26, 2013 at 11:05 am Leave a comment

A Sneak Peek at the Pegula Ice Arena

A panoramic view of the main rink. Photo by Tina Hay.

A panoramic view of the main rink. Photo by Tina Hay.

Back in October 2010, I visited Penn State to interview for this job. I’d never been to Happy Valley before, and the magazine’s class notes editor and ad manager, Julie Nelson ’86, was nice enough to give me the unofficial tour before I met the rest of the magazine staff.

Unfortunately, thanks to my pre-interview jitters, the tour was a confusing blur of buildings and street names (sorry, Julie). But I do remember Julie pointing out the future location of the Pegula Ice Arena. Back then the $88 million donation from Terry Pegula ’73 and wife Kim was the biggest news in town (ah, remember those days?), and I felt pretty cool later that evening when I could make small talk about the future venue with a waitress.

So, just over two years later, it was pretty surreal to find myself standing in the arena itself.

Some Alumni Association staffers, including Tina Hay ’83, Julie, and me, got a sneak peek at the construction site yesterday afternoon. Our tour guide: Joe Battista ’83, former Icer and current associate athletic director for Penn State hockey and the Pegula Ice Arena.

The arena is still an active construction site—visitors are required to wear hard hats, reflective vests, work gloves, and boots—but Battista paints such a vivid mental picture that, on the way out, it was hard to believe that all we really saw was drywall and metal.

Some highlights from the tour:

—The exterior of the building is mostly complete. With red brick and a wall of clear glass on the east side, the design is modern, says Battista, but similar to other campus buildings. “I compare it to a larger Rec Hall with glass,” he says.

—Inside, our first stop was the lobby, at the base of what will be the “grand staircase.” The area features three box offices, an HD video screen, white terrazzo floors, and a large wall graphic that reads Welcome to Hockey Valley.

—The main rink will seat 6,000; small by Big Ten standards, but the high-tech details and amenities more than compensate, says Battista. “There’s not a bad seat in this arena.”

—The student section seats 1,050, which is equivalent to the capacity of the entire Greenberg Ice Pavilion, Penn State hockey’s current home. The student bleachers, with room for the pep band in the center, are the steepest allowed by code. They’re located behind the north goal—the goal that the visiting team will be defending for two of the game’s three periods. “We want the opposing team’s goalie to feel right at home,” Battista says with a smile.

—Adding to the “homey” feel: the arena’s acoustics. At Terry Pegula’s request, the facility was designed with no acoustic softeners. In other words, says Battista, “it’s going to get loud.”

Our tour guide: Joe Battista '83. Photo by Tina Hay.

Our tour guide: Joe Battista ’83. Photo by Tina Hay.

—There are plenty of luxury suites and private boxes, some of them just 30 feet from the ice, so viewers feel like they’re part of the action. Suites will be equipped with HD TVs, where guests can watch replays of the game and order food via touchscreen. And as for the food, don’t expect “reheated chicken fingers,” says Battista. Several cafés, concession stands, and the on-site restaurant will all operate out of a full kitchen.

—The varsity teams’ locker room (there are 14 locker rooms total, including some for figure skating and community use) will be especially impressive. Separate men’s and women’s areas will feature hydrotherapy tubs, saunas, and private physical therapy rooms. In each individual locker, super hot blowers will dry damp gear and prevent bacterial growth.

—Just outside the locker rooms, players can lounge in a cozy space with couches, big-screen TVs, snack machines, and a ping-pong table—the sorts of amenities that make a difference in recruiting. There’s even a small enclosed area for “stick preparation”—and ceiling vents with suction to remove the leftover dust and debris. “We really tried to think of everything,” says Battista.

—We were all wowed by plans for a futuristic “synthetic shooting range.” A high-tech system called RapidShot will allow players to assess their shot speed and accuracy, and compare themselves to other players worldwide.

—A smaller community rink with 300-seat capacity is designed for lessons and public use. A cyber café with free wifi (and possibly a fireplace) will overlook the rink, so parents can work while kids practice or play.

Battista says construction is on track for a September opening of the Pegula Ice Arena. The first Penn State varsity hockey game is scheduled for early October.

To see more photos from the tour, check out Tina’s pics on our Facebook page, or take your own virtual tour on YouTube.

Mary Murphy, associate editor

February 7, 2013 at 3:03 pm 3 comments

A Thought-Provoking Video

Anthony Leach, one of 11 "travelers" in the video.

If you’ve got 13 and a half minutes to spare, you might want to sit back and watch this video that my colleague Dan Leri ’79 recently commissioned.

Dan is director of Penn State’s Innovation Park, which—among other roles—serves as home to a number of startup companies linked to faculty research. He recently had some talented friends produce the video for him on the subject of “journeys.” It may seem like a soft and squishy concept for a research park, but it’s very apt. As Dan put it in the email he sent to Innovation Park tenants, prospective tenants, and other corporate types:

We believe all the individuals at The Park are on a personal journey. And since you have picked a path, we want to support your journey. So, we gathered a few of the folks we’ve met over the years and asked them, “Have you learned anything about life?”

I suspect you’ll recognize some of the people who agreed to sit in front of the camera and reflect: They include fly fisherman Joe Humphreys ’57, retired art professor Stuart Frost ’49, former ice hockey coach Joe Battista ’83, and many others. And I also suspect you’ll enjoy their thoughtful insights—on subjects like failure, trust, lessons learned from loss, and creating change in your life.

You can see the video here.

Tina Hay, editor

August 18, 2011 at 2:46 pm Leave a comment

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