Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Honored

Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.
Jesse Owens

The final Alumni Weekend in the storied history of the Penn State Icers turned out to be everything that I expected. Fun, intense, emotional, and above all - humbling.

The on-ice results were as expected - a pair of lopsided victories over Mercyhurst that kept the Icers' home unbeaten streak intact. The wins pretty much ensured that Penn State will be the top ranked team in the final poll that will be released on Friday.

I said several times what an honor it was and is to be inducted into the Icer Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2012. To join so many friends, former players and builders in the Hall is an honor that I will cherish.

It was humbling to share the Alumni Dinner podium with Scott Curry, who brought the room to tears as he recounted going from the low of being a teenager told he'd never play hockey again to leading the Icers to a National Championship and representing the USA at the World University Games, with Coach Gadowsky, who once again showed why he is the right man to lead the hockey program into the new varsity era, and with Jay Paterno.

Jay's inspirational and emotional speech helped to heal the wounds of the past and challenged the alumni to ensure the future and brought everyone to their feet for a lengthy standing ovation.

Before the dinner I received an e-mail from Dr. Lawrence Hendry, the first coach of the Icers. Larry congratulated me and asked if I "had the same lump in your throat that I did" when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. I tried to keep the emotions in check during the Saturday webcast, but the lump arrived in full force as I stood at the podium that evening.

There are so many to thank for their encouragement and support over the past decade, notably Joe Battista, the players and coaches that I have pestered for interviews over the years, former broadcast partners Jason Mals, John Mulhern and Steve "Howie Meeker" Zodtner, fellow Hall of Famer Rodney Martin, the Icers Booster Club and all of the parents who have become lifelong friends.

Most of all, I have to thank Barb. I'm not sure that many wives would do what the "Executive Producer" has done going back to our days in cramped and frosty high school football press boxes in Colorado.

As Jesse Owens said, friends gather no dust. The true honor for Barb and I is the friendships we have made over the past ten years. They are friendships that transcend hockey.

To all of you, we can only say -- thank you!






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