Gadowsky Rewarding Hard Work With Hard Hats
Guy Gadowsky, the head of the Penn State Nittany Lions Division 1 hockey team, wants his team to know that goals, statistics, and saves — in other words, the stat sheet — is not what’s most important to him. Instead, Gadowsky believes that hard work is what makes a good hockey team, and he is using a symbolic gesture in the form of a hard hat to pass that message on to his players.
The hard hat — a plain, white, plastic hat with a blue stripe down its center — is representative of the work that this team is putting in to establish a strong future in their first season as a Division 1 program.
“The significance of the hard hat is what’s going on across the street,” Gadowsky said, referencing the ongoing construction of the team’s future home — the Pegula Ice Arena. “They’re building a foundation for us right now that we can have success in the future, and we’re building a foundation so that we can have success in the future.”
In Gadowsky’s mind, it is important that this team starts strong now in order to ensure that they wear the “Nittany Lions” name well in seasons to come. “To have success in the Big Ten,” he said, “you’re going to have to have a great foundation. That’s extremely important to us so the person who gets the hard hat after every win is someone who demonstrates part of that foundation.”
One of the rules that comes along with the hard hat is the responsibility of choosing its next recipient. Kenny Brooks, a freshman forward, earned himself the hard hat after the first weekend of play. Gadowsky said that he decided to give it to Brooks because his play was “phenomenal all weekend” and that he “broke up plays at least three or four times coming back hard back-checking.”
It is that kind of tough, gritty, hard work that’s going to help earn this Penn State hockey team the reputation of being a force to reckon with. Brooks didn’t make the most athletic or the most noteworthy plays, but he just kept grinding and he didn’t take his time getting back on defense.
“Our next win, whenever that may be,” said Gadowksy, “Kenny Brooks will have to give [the hard hat] to someone who he recognized as someone who had the work ethic to help build our foundation.”