Head Coach Guy Gadowsky talks with the Big Ten about the upcoming season
Sept. 19, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. -
Below is the transcript of the interview with Penn State ice hockey head coach Guy Gadowksy at the 2013 Big Ten Hockey Media Day.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you'd like to start with an opening statement, we'll open the floor for questions.
Guy Gadowsky: This is just a very exciting time for Penn State, Penn State hockey. Think we're all here because we're very excited to compete against the best. And such great programs and storied programs in college hockey are in this conference, so it's an incredible honor to be a part of it.
Q. You guys got a chance to kind of dip your toes in the water as an independent last year. How is the community reaction around Penn State for you guys accepting the new hockey program in terms of the community?
Guy Gadowsky: It's been fantastic. It's been fantastic for a while, I think. Ever since Mr. Pegula made the announcement of the gift, I think everybody has just been very excited about what was going to come. Certainly extremely excited about Division I hockey on its own, and certainly excited about the beautiful arena, which is not only great for Division I hockey the varsity program, but for the community. Incredible excitement about the Big Ten hockey conference and what it means to see the programs that the university, the student body and community gets to see these programs come to the Pegula ice rink. They're really excited.
So as you mentioned, dip your toes in. We certainly did that, we had a chance to compete against some Big Ten opponents, obviously not at home. There is great excitement in seeing these great programs come to State College.
Q. How important was last season? I'm thinking especially getting a couple wins against Big Ten teams, going into Wisconsin and getting a win, et cetera. How important was that in building your program?
Guy Gadowsky: I think it's an extremely important fact. We'd all like to have another year where we could get more work done and learn about our teams and try to accomplish our foundation and getting an opportunity to play Big Ten programs. We knew we were going to play Michigan State and Wisconsin who were already on the schedule. We happened to play Ohio State in the tournament. So to have those three experiences, I think, are very valuable. Obviously, we'd love a lot more, but three are better than zero. So I think the experience is something that we all grew from, and certainly gave us an indication that we're going in the right direction.
Q. Tell us about recruiting a little bit in Pennsylvania with the Penguins obviously being very popular with the Flyers popular for years. What is the hockey community like there and what's it like recruiting out there?
Guy Gadowsky: The hockey community was something that surprised me pleasantly when I got on campus. I didn't realize there were so many jerseys. You mentioned two of them. There are a lot of Flyer jerseys, a lot of Penguin jerseys. You are starting to see a lot more Buffalo Sabre jerseys as well as others. But the hockey community, I was very pleasantly surprised, how engrained it was already, so there is a passion for hockey in Happy Valley already.
And with the transition to be a Division I team is certainly was tremendous, and the anticipation, excitement for the Big Ten hockey conference is certainly incredibly exciting. So when you are recruiting, I'm not sure if you're referring to specifically in Pennsylvania, but there is a tremendous buzz about what's going to happen and what it's going to mean.
So recruiting in that sense, there is a lot of great hockey players, great student-athletes that are really attracted to Penn State University, a lot that are very attracted to the Big Ten hockey conference, and certainly a lot of excitement and curiosity about what this great Pegula Ice Arena is going to mean and to be able to develop there. So to answer your question about recruiting, it's a fun experience.
Q. Some of the other coaches talked about the importance of the Big Ten Network and getting the exposure for their programs. Especially for you guys, is that something that's going to be very big to get your names out there as a young program?
Guy Gadowsky: I think it's big for everybody. It's incredibly important for college hockey. It's obviously going to help tremendously with exposure across the board. I think we all benefit from this. I've been in this a while, and I can remember decades back where coaches were saying we just need another great institution to join college hockey, and that's what's happened. I think the domino effect of that in terms of what's going to happen for everybody and the exposure is tremendous.
So certainly we're right along with them. With our program being new, there is a lot of excitement on its own. But to have the exposure of the Big Ten Conference, to let everybody know that Penn State is here is something that we're all going to benefit from.
Q. Kind of a two-part question. Could you describe your new ice arena, and what have ticket sales been like?
Guy Gadowsky: To describe the arena, I mean, it's beautiful. It's beautiful from a fan perspective. It's a beautiful arena. It's very comfortable. There is not a bad seat in the house, as you can imagine. It's beautiful. Describing it is beautiful.
From the student body perspective, it's not only beautiful, it's fun. The student section is awesome. It's literally as steep as code will allow. There is a place for the band right in the middle of them, and they're going to rock that place and have a lot of fun.
From their perspective, fun. From a student-athlete perspective, convenient. It's right in the middle of campus. I don't want to say excessive, but they have everything there that they need to develop. So certainly it's convenient for them in the fact that whether it's working out in a tremendous weight room, looking at video, studying, certainly training, other aspects of skills in hockey, medical attention, everything is there for them. So from the student-athlete's perspective, all-inclusive.
I guess to answer your second question about ticket sales, they've been -- put it this way, all the problems we have are really good problems to have. It's because we don't have enough tickets. Those are problems that everybody wants them. Our student ticket sales went on, I guess, they had to be shut down because there were too many students missing class to stand in line. So that is a good problem to have.
Q. Outside of writing the check, to what degree is Terry Pegula involved with your program?
Guy Gadowsky: Yeah, certainly he has the biggest role, we all know that. But he's also just a great hockey guy. Truthfully, had the opportunity to meet him a few times and he'll call about certain things. But every time within a matter less than a minute, you somehow forget who you're speaking to and you end up talking to a great hockey guy who is a great hockey fan, and it's fun to speak hockey with him.
His role, we all know his role. But he has a great way about him of easing it in that the conversations he talks about are just about being excited about hockey and what it means. So I really enjoy every interaction we get to have with him.
Q. What can we expect from your team on the ice? You're picked sixth in the six-team league and you're the new guys. But what are we going to see out there?
Guy Gadowsky: No idea. I mean, we're new. It's a new conference. We're new. We've never been in a conference. So very difficult for me to say this is what you're going to get. We don't know. That is part of the excitement about it.
The players are all here. These are the guys. If we recruited you to come to Penn State, we believe you're someone hungry to accept that challenge. We don't know. Trust me, we're not naive. We understand very well how great the programs are in the Big Ten Conference. We were very, very understanding of that and very respectful of that. At the same time we need players that have that understanding but are hungry to accept the challenge.
Guys that just want to show up and arrive at some place that's already established and ready to go, those aren't the type of players that we need. We need the ones that are excited about the challenge and understand how great our opponents are. With that being said, we have no idea, but we're looking forward to finding out.
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