By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Tuesday afternoon, Penn State men's hockey head coach Guy Gadowsky concluded the Nittany Lion 2016-17 season with his final press conference of the year.
Gadowsky started off addressing the team's most recent news: defenseman Vince Pedrie's departure after signing with the New York Rangers.
"It's something that we expect is going to happen more and more, and Vince, he's been a great player for us, and a great person and representative for our program and our university," Gadowsky said. "He's a really good guy. I really enjoyed having him and really I wish the very best for him."
Gadowsky knew Pedrie signing was a possibility after the Nittany Lions concluded their season, but also noted such dynamic players like Pedrie don't just leave the team simply to sign a contract, they leave when there's a high possibility they're headed to the NHL.
Despite a loss in the second round of the NCAA Tournament and one win shy of the Frozen Four, Gadowsky said there is much for the team the be proud of. Among those items, Penn State's first No. 1 ranking and bringing home the Big Ten Championship, just to name a few.
Referring to Penn State's staff long-term checklist, Gadowsky noted proudly that this team was capable of taking great strides toward those goals this year, checking many accomplishments off the list.
"There's not very many anymore, which is nice to say," Gadowsky said. "This experience has made us hungry to want to learn more and get better."
For Gadowsky, the 2016-17 season has been a year where he has learned more about coaching than ever before, and that experience in itself is extremely valuable to the success of the team in the future.
So what's next for the Nittany Lions?
Across the next weeks, the coaching staff will meet with each player individually and then meet as a staff to evaluate the program itself and start prepping for next year's campaign.
"That's what I'm really looking forward to," Gadowsky said. "We already have a number of things we know we have to improve on and that's exciting. Physically, we're a little bit tired but I can't tell you how much we want to get back to improving and I know we can."
As for the departing senior class, forward Ricky DeRosa said he'd like the legacy of the class of 2017 to be that of a group of guys who were hard workers until the very end, and great representatives of Penn State off the ice. Reflecting, DeRosa had some fitting words to end the season, explaining why this particular team has been so special."I'd say it's the people in the locker room," DeRosa said. "You had the younger guys pushing the older guys, the older guys kind of leading the way with the different leadership styles that have been instilled is us over the last three, four years here. Then you throw in Coach Gadowsky and the other coaches in the mix and it's a recipe for success."