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September 18, 2010

Penn State Gets $88 Million to Play Hockey: Penn State is returning to Division I men's hockey for the first time since 1946, thanks to an $88 million donation -- the largest private gift in school history -- by Terry and Kim Pegula. The deal came about after Terry Pegula, a Penn State grad and natural gas and oil exploration executive, got to know Joe Battista, the 512-game winning coach of the team's successful club hockey program, after sending his sons to hockey camps at the school. "It's taken 32 years," said Battista. "I bawled my eyes out."

posted by rcade to hockey at 07:16 PM - 2 comments

The bigger news is that this paves the way for a Big Ten Hockey Conference, an idea that has been talked about ever since the Big Ten Network started up (and even before that). Conferences need 6 team and Penn St would join long time hockey powers like Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Michigan St (as well as Ohio St).

I have no idea if this is good for college hockey or not, but it's going to happen.

The WCHA will be fine because the league has plenty of great teams left (North Dakota, Denver, Colorado College), but the CCHA would suffer.

College hockey is mostly small schools in the Northeast and Great Lakes, and I think a lot of those small schools rely on games with the bigger schools to bring in money. It will definitely be interesting to watch.

posted by emoeby at 07:56 AM on September 19

I have no idea if this is good for college hockey or not, but it's going to happen.

According to Kevin Paul DuPont, Boston Globe hockey writer, the addition of Penn State to the college hockey ranks is being greeted with enthusiasm both by NHL sources and by College Hockey Inc. This is a link to DuPont's Hockey Notes column in today's paper. Note that the part dealing with Penn State begins at the bottom of the linked page (page 2), and continues to page 3. Penn State has had a club level program for the past couple of years, but was reluctant to invest the money needed for a Division 1 program. Thanks to the Pegula family, they now have it.

The WCHA will be fine because the league has plenty of great teams left (North Dakota, Denver, Colorado College), but the CCHA would suffer.

I agree that the CCHA will suffer from some drop-off in quality if the 3 Big Ten teams drop out, but they will be left with a good 7-team nucleus. Penn State's program is not set to kick off until the 2012 - 2013 season, which leaves time for the CCHA to find some replacements. I think a larger question is how the creation of a new hockey conference will affect the NCAA tournament setup.

In an additional note, Penn State is simultaneously starting up a women's hockey program at the Division 1 level as well. This is a very positive development for the women's game.

posted by Howard_T at 02:06 PM on September 19

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