Longtime Penn State coach and administrator Joe Battista will be honored with the 2014 American Hockey Coaches Association’s Lou Lamoriello Award, the organization announced yesterday.
The award is given to a former college hockey player or coach who goes on to have a “unique and distinguished professional career.”
“I am honored and humbled to receive the Lamoriello Award,” added Battista. “Coach Lamoriello has always been willing to help others in the game, including our Penn State staff. I was excited to see him at our recent Devils-Sabres game and be able to share the news of the award with him. This award is possible only because of the great teammates, players, staff, mentors and colleagues that I have worked with over the past 35 years and the support of my wife, Heidi, and our kids.”
Battista should be known as one of the fathers of Penn State hockey. He has been the program’s biggest advocate since putting on his Icers jersey in 1978, serving in various capacities as a coach and an administrator. He was on the other side of the table at that now-famous Kelly’s Steakhouse meeting when Terry Pegula said “I think I can do that” to Battista’s $88 million proposal to bring Division One hockey to Penn State. Battista was also an original member of the Lion Ambassadors.
Battista left Penn State in November to work for Pegula at East Management Services as its Vice President of Hockey Related Businesses. But, as with all great Penn Staters, his contributions to the university did not leave with him. That much is clear every time we get the opportunity to watch a hockey game at the beautiful Pegula Ice Arena, which Battista had dreamed of for nearly 30 years.
“Joe Battista represents so much of the best of college hockey,” said AHCA executive director Joe Bertagna in a statement. “He has been a success at everything he has done since his playing days ended and he has shown incredible loyalty and devotion to his alma mater and to people who have helped him along the way. These are characteristics on display throughout our sport and never more so than in Joe.”