Last month, a story broke that Penn State was beginning to look into the possibility of instituting Division I hockey teams. Such an initiative would be greatly helped by a brand-new hockey arena, and rumors have been circling that a new ice venue will be making its way onto campus. It now looks like there is good news on both of those fronts.
Inside College Hockey is reporting that a formal announcement of Penn State’s plans to launch varsity hockey teams is imminent, with college and junior hockey sources supporting the claims. The admission of the Icers (if they keep the same name) into the NCAA would forever alter the collegiate hockey scene as it would allow for a Big Ten hockey conference to form, bringing in huge dollars for the Big Ten Network.
Penn State would become the second-biggest institution to sport a Division I hockey team (Ohio State being the first). And with such a huge student body and fanbase, the Greenberg Ice Pavilion would no longer be able to house the crowds coming to see the games. Enter Terry Pegula.
Pegula, a billionaire by way of Royal Dutch Shell buying out his company for $4.7 billion, was initially rumored to be the leading donor in the plans and according to an anonymous source close to Onward State, this still looks to be the case. Apparently, the donation is very close to being signed, sealed and delivered.
The sum would be a sizeable one, if not the largest in that of the university’s history. The new arena, which would hopefully seat 6,000-8,000 people would cost around $80 million to build. The placement of the arena still seems to be a sticking point, with speculation dividing itself between near Medlar Field and behind Shields Building.
John Nittardy and Joe Battista, the directors of major gifts for the Nittany Lion Club and Smeal, respectively, both declined comment when we contacted them, although Battista said details may come soon. Stay tuned for OS updates on the matter.