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May 27, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's ice hockey coach Guy Gadowsky and his staff will coach the Penn State Icers in the 2011-12 season, their final year of American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) competition. Current Icer head coach Scott Balboni has agreed to step down as coach so that Gadowsky and his staff can begin to coach the current team and evaluate the players and 2011 recruits for the future varsity team.
The move accommodates the accelerated time frame for the transition to NCAA Division I status in 2012-13. Coach Gadowsky and assistant coaches Keith Fisher and Matt Lindsay are on campus and have begun preparing to coach the Icers next season. Gadowsky and his staff have the challenge of leading the transition to play in the proposed Big Ten Hockey Conference by 2013-14 in the new Pegula Ice Arena, a full year earlier than originally planned.
"We are very appreciative of all the hard work and efforts that Coach Balboni has put into continuing our tradition of a strong ACHA club program during his 13 years as a member of the Icer staff," said Tim Curley, Penn State Director of Athletics. "We wish Scott and his family all the best and thank them for their contributions to the growth of hockey in Happy Valley."
Gadowsky was named Penn State head coach on April 24, bringing 15 years of head coaching experience to Hockey Valley, including the last seven at Princeton University. The 2008 Inside College Hockey National Coach of the Year, Gadowsky led Princeton to NCAA Championship berths in 2008 and '09 and the 2008 ECAC Hockey Championship. He was head coach at Alaska-Fairbanks for five years prior to reviving the Princeton program and has earned league coach of the year honors at each of his three head coaching posts.
"I am grateful to Coach Balboni for agreeing to allow my staff and I the opportunity to begin coaching the Penn State Hockey team right away," Gadowsky said. "It will give us the opportunity to evaluate the players and work with the team in preparation for the move to varsity play in 2012-13 and the inaugural Big Ten Conference season in 2013-14. We are excited to build on Penn State's strong ice hockey tradition."
In his five seasons as head coach, Balboni led the Icers to a 150-34-9 record, winning at least 30 games on four occasions. The 2006-07 Icers were ACHA national runners-up and the 2008-09 Icers advanced to the ACHA semifinals.
"The past nine months have been very exciting for Penn State hockey," Balboni stated. "After much thought and consideration about the future direction of the program, I believe it is in the best interest of the overall program to step down now as head coach of the ACHA Div. I Icers team. I can assure you that Coach Gadowsky and his staff are excited and are working to have as seamless a transition as possible and are looking forward to working with current players, recruits, boosters, HMA, support staff and fans both during this final season of ACHA play and leading into varsity play in 2012-13.
"I would like to thank Tim Curley and Penn State for all that they have done over the years to support the Icers and for their continued support to assure that everyone is being treated as fairly as possible in this transition period," Balboni added. "I also want to personally thank all the players, alumni, boosters, HMA, support staff and fans that have made the last five seasons as the head coach so special to me. I am proud to have been associated with Penn State hockey for 13 seasons and I am proud of all we have accomplished together. I plan to remain a fervent supporter of Penn State hockey."
The Icers will begin their final season of play in the ACHA at home on Friday, Oct. 7 against the Washington & Jefferson Presidents before traveling to Big Ten rival Illinois for a two-game series on October 14-15.
In September 2010, the University announced an $88 million gift from Terrence M. and Kim Pegula, the largest private gift in Penn State's history, which was intended to fund a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose ice arena as well as help to establish an NCAA Division I men's hockey program. In conjunction with the gift, Penn State will establish an NCAA women's hockey program.
The Penn State men's and women's ice hockey teams are slated to begin competition in the 2012-13 season as NCAA Division I independents. The directors of athletics of the six Big Ten Conference institutions that sponsor men's ice hockey will recommend to the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors in June the establishment of men's ice hockey as a conference sport with the 2013-14 season.
Conference affiliation for the Penn State women's ice hockey program is to be determined.
Pegula Ice Arena is slated to open in late 2013 and will be built on the corner of Curtin Road and University Drive, directly west of the Bryce Jordan Center. The new 200,000-square-foot, multi-purpose ice arena will be the only major rink within an 80-mile radius and will be on par with the best collegiate facilities in the country. It will include two ice sheets and other features that will allow it to be used for a broad range of campus and community activities, from commencement ceremonies to kinesiology classes to public skating sessions and camps for youth.
Penn State fielded a varsity hockey squad from 1939-40 through 1945-46. Penn State's current club hockey programs have experienced success throughout their respective histories. Established as a club team in 1971-72, the Icers have won seven ACHA National Championships.