Thursday, September 30, 2010

Opening Night

It looks like we are good to go for our first road trip of the season as the boys head to da 'Burgh to take on the Panthers.

I've spent the past couple of days working on getting some new software installed that's going to improve our video webcasts.  Rodney Martin has pitched in with his expertise - adding some features that we know you'll enjoy.

I got some more good news on Wednesday.  It looks like the Icers and Panthers are going to be playing both games on the main rink at the Blade Runners arena in Harmerville.

That means we'll have a wifi signal and should not have any problems streaming both games.  According to the arena manager, the Saturday matinee is now scheduled for 5 pm, not 4.

Let's hope for a good weekend for the team and the broadcast team!  

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Prepping for Pitt

The Icers open the 2010-11 season on the road this weekend, taking on the Pittsburgh Panthers on Friday and Saturday.  Assistant Coach Josh Hand put the team through a grueling practice session this afternoon, working on speed and some in-close drills designed to toughen the boys up.

Then, to top of their day, Josh had them skate, skate and skate some more -- so much so that the championship banners were flapping in the breeze!

I caught up with Coach Hand and junior forward Chris Cerutti to talk about the season ahead.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Blue - White Bonus

Friday's Blue - White game showed that the team needs some work heading into the 2010-11 season.  That's not really a surprise, given that they've had about a week of practice time.

For what it was worth, the Blues won 5-3.  Chris Cerutti notched two for the Blues, Tim O'Brien responded with two for the Whites in the two-period contest.

Coach Scott Balboni spoke with me after the first period and was concerned about the sloppy defensive play from both squads. I felt that there's some work needed on offense as well.  

Obviously, the coaches have had little or no time to work on special teams play, but there weren't any penalties called so that was a moot point.

The Icers open the season on the road next Friday night against Pittsburgh.  We'll have the game from the Blade Runners arena in Harmerville live on UStream.

We could have an issue with webcasting the Saturday matinee.  The game will be played in the secondary rink at Blade Runners, where there is no wifi signal.  Hopefully, I can get a cell signal in the rink so that we can bring you the action.

Now, on to the "bonus" part of this entry.  If you were at the game Friday night, you might have noticed a sweet new Shelby Mustang in the parking lot.  I recognized the car immediately as the one that was being raffled by the Penn State Coaches vs. Cancer.

Meet Scott and Sandy Balboni's new ride!  As Rod Stewart once put it, "Some guys have all the luck!"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Joe on the Radio

Not only is Joe Battista the face of Penn State hockey, he's quickly become the voice of the future of the Nittany Lions hockey program in the week since the "worst kept secret in college sports" became official.

Joe is doing radio interviews all around the state, including with my old friend and colleague Matt Leon at KYW Radio in Philadelphia.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Prepping for the Season

The players are gearing up for the 2010-11 season, and so am I. The annual Blue - White game is this Friday, one week before the Icers open the regular season on the road at Pittsburgh.

Head Coach Scott Balboni announced the team captains on Monday. Marek Polidor is the captain, with Tim O'Brien, Paul Daley and Eric Steinour serving as assistant captains.

Balboni told The Collegian's Anthony Barton that "what he saw in Polidor was an intelligent player, who with leading by example, was the best choice." No argument here.

We'll have the Blue - White game on UStream at 9:00pm Eastern time. If you are not going to be in front of your computer on Friday night, you can now watch the game on your smartphone.

You can download a UStream app for iPhone or Android phones. Isn't technology wonderful?

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Job for JoeBa

It comes as no surprise that Joe Battista will continue to have an instrumental role in the development of the Penn State Division I hockey program.

The full press release is on the new hockey page on the official Penn State athletics website.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Longtime Penn State Athletics and University Development employee Joe Battista has assumed a pivotal role with Penn State as the Associate Athletic Director for Ice Arena Operations and the Director of the Ice Arena and Hockey Campaign. Battista was instrumental in facilitating the largest gift in the University's history, an $88 million donation for the planned ice facility and Division I men's ice hockey team, which came through the generosity of Terry and Kim Pegula and was announced last week.

Until December of 2012, Battista will report to both University Development and Intercollegiate Athletics. After that date, he will report solely to Intercollegiate Athletics as he continues as the Associate Athletic Director for Ice Arena Operations. Battista will assume his new role on September 27.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

More on Nittany Lions Hockey

Still buzzing about the news from Happy Valley? I know I am, two full days after Friday's press conference and festivities!

Thanks to John Mulhern for forwarding another article about the announcement and the impact of Penn State joining the ranks of NCAA Division I hockey.

By the way, overdue congratulations to John and his wife Cindy, who are expecting a baby girl early in the new year. Life in Boise, Idaho is good for my former broadcast partner and our "adopted son."

This is from Ryan Kennedy at The Hockey News.
During a summer where high-profile player defections to major junior and the pro ranks humbled the college game, the announcement of a Nittany Lions squad taking root is huge news – and not just for those in the greater State College, Pa. area.

“I think it’s a very good thing,” said Paul Kelly of College Hockey Inc., which is hosting a scouting event in Toronto this weekend for NCAA schools. “With Penn State, you’re adding a world-class academic and athletic institution. It’s a boost not only to hockey, but sports overall.”

Saturday, September 18, 2010

More Post Press Conference Interviews

I think that it's safe to say that everyone is still flying high after Friday's historic day in Hockey Valley. The buzz created by the news of varsity hockey returning to Penn State was amazing, with an overflow crowd at the presser, news that it was the top story on and was even talked about on TSN in Canada!

Be sure to check out Tony Mancuso's blog at for reaction from folks around the hockey world.

Athletic Director Tim Curley hosted a social event last night, and it was great to meet new and old friends, swap some stories and talk, talk, talk about hockey!

The gathering gave me a chance to talk more with Terry and Kim Pegula. It comes as no surprise that they are - in a nutshell - hockey parents. Welcome to the family folks.

The exciting day was capped by the fantastic news that Bill Downey has been named the Director of Hockey Operations at Harvard. Somehow, I always pictured the former Icers captain and assistant coach as a "Hahvad" man!

Bill, congrats from everyone in the Icers family. Now, work on getting the Nittany Lions on the Crimson schedule in 2012.

Here's more interviews from Friday, with original "Icer" John Dufford, the aforementioned Tim Curley, and former Icer Ben Bouma.

Had I not looked at my watch late last night, I'm sure that Ben and I would still be sitting at a table at the Nittany Lion Inn talking about the game we love!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Press Conference Interviews

OK folks, here are the quick and dirty interviews with Mr. Terry Pegula and Joe Battista following today's press conference.

I'll have more videos with original "Icer" John Dufford and former Icer Ben Bouma on Saturday.


Live Blogging from the Press Conference

OK, this is my first attempt at this so I hope this works. The news is out, we are going to have Division I NCAA hockey at Penn State beginning in 2012-13.

It's now official, but we're waiting for the major players to make their appearance. Apparently the Board of Trustees meeting is running long. That's OK, we've waited this long....

One person is sorely missed today -- Doc Cohen, "The Godfather" has too many commitments at NC State.

Dr. Spanier is leading everyone in....

On the dias with Dr. Spanier is AD Tim Curley and Terry and Kim Pegula. Dr. Spanier calling the gift "an unprecedent act of philanthropy" and "the largest gift in Penn State history." $88 Million

The only major rink in an 80 mile radius will be a boon to the community.

AD Tim Curley speaking, 5-6000 seats west of the BJC and south of the Shields Building along University Dr. Two sheet facility

Club teams "will be elevated" to NCAA D=1 in 2012-13. Independent D-1 through 2013-14. Conference play in the new arena in 2014-15. Working with Big Ten to determine "the appropriate conference" for Penn State, but will play the other 5 BT hockey schools

Speaking of the success of NHL and AHL teams in PA and Frozen Fours in Pitt and Philly and the Winter Classic at Heinz Field

Introducing Terry and Kim Pegula....

JoeBa presents the Pegulas with Icers sweaters and sticks

Terry Pegula.... started late in 2006 with dinner with JoeBa (what a shocker!)

Long hard decision about the hockey gift --- then thinking about his rink rat days and his son's youth hockey experience and character building through hockey.

Talking about Dr. Spanier being a part-time mascot, Paternoville denizen --= forgot Zamboni driver!

Played in the Penguins charity golf tournament yesterday -- players and management of the Pens (including Mario and Sid) were jacked at the news!!

I'll be posting interviews later today.


We Are --- NCAA Div. I PENN STATE!!!

"It's the worst kept secret in all of college sports!"
Joe Battista, Sat. Sept. 4, 2010

Well, Joe, it ain't a secret no more!

The official announcement is being delivered as you read this at a press conference at the Nittany Lion Inn. The long-awaited dream of varsity hockey (men's and women's) in Hockey Valley is now a reality!

I'm posting the official press release here. Rodney Martin and I will be conducting interviews following the official announcement and I'll get them posted here as soon as I can.

University Park, Pa.; September 17, 2010- In conjunction with the largest private gift in the history of The Pennsylvania State University to fund a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose arena, Penn State will establish NCAA Division I men’s and women’s ice hockey programs. The two teams are slated to begin competition in the 2012-13 season.

The addition of men’s and women’s ice hockey at Penn State will increase the number of sports that Intercollegiate Athletics offers to 31,
which will tie it for third among the 120 institutions in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision. Within that category, only Stanford (35) and Ohio State (34) field more sports, while Boston College also has 31. The last varsity athletic team that Penn State added was women’s soccer in 1994.

“This is the fulfillment of a dream for many that have been long-time advocates and supporters of Penn State hockey,” said Athletic Director

Tim Curley. “As with all of our programs, we will expect both the men’s and women’s teams to compete for championships and achieve at a high level.”

Penn State’s current club hockey programs have experienced success throughout their respective histories. Established as a club team in 1971-72 after fielding a varsity squad from 1939-40 to 1945-46, the Icers have won seven ACHA National Championships. The Lady Icers began as a club program in 1996-97 and have made appearances in the 2000-01 ACHA Final Four, six National Tournaments (including the 2009-10 tournament), and were the 1999 Mid-Atlantic Women’s Collegiate Hockey Association (MAWCHA) champions after an undefeated season.

“We are excited to add ice hockey as a varsity sport for women at Penn State,” said Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator Susan Delaney-Scheetz. “The sport is growing in popularity, and the new facility will help showcase our women’s programs and allow us to grow our tradition of recruiting top student-athletes to Penn State. We have high expectations for the future success of both the men’s and women’s programs.”

Terry and Kim Pegula’s $88 million gift to fund the state-of-the-art arena, as well as help establish the men’s ice hockey team, made the addition of ice hockey as a varsity sport at Penn State possible.

“The Pegulas’ unparalleled generosity will make it possible for Penn State to serve our region and our student-athletes in exciting new ways,” said Penn State President Graham Spanier. “This arena will be an invaluable year-round asset for members of the University community, as well as for children, youth and families throughout central Pennsylvania, and it will be an engine for economic growth and development. The Pegulas’ support also will help build a program that extends our rich tradition of preparing student-athletes for success in competition and in life.”

“The construction of the new arena will be entirely funded by private gifts,” said Rod Kirsch,Senior Vice President of Development & Alumni
Relations. “Penn State will now be launching an ambitious campaign to ask other donors to join Terry and Kim in supporting this facility and the
creation of other endowments to support the hockey and skating programs. Our goal is to make this arena, and the vast array of activities to be held in it, the national model by which all other programs are measured.”

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Your 2010-11 Penn State Icers

From Coach Balboni - "5 New players and a solid mix all around. Some solid players and very good depth."

Four freshmen (Mike McDonagh, Andrew Duval, Ryan Seibolt and Mathew Madrazo) and junior transfer Kevin Miller (Robert Morris U.).

Welcome to the team, and welcome to the Icers family.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Post-tryout Report

Monday marked the final tryout for the 2010-11 Icers team. As happens every September, the new recruits work hard to impress the coach while some established players work hard knowing that they may be on the bubble.

It's a tough time for everyone, especially as they have just gotten settled (we hope) into their classroom routines.

I'll have more on the current team in the days ahead. In the meantime, I caught up with senior center Tim O'Brien and Assistant Coach Josh Hand after Monday's grueling workout.

I'll have to apologize for the audio - it's tough to do interviews while the Zamboni makes its rounds before the next teams take to the ice.