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Hockey’s Joe Battista To Leave Penn State For Pegula’s Company

A longtime fixture in Penn State athletics and integral part of bring hockey to Happy Valley is making a career move.

Joe Battista, Associate Athletic Director for Pegula Ice Arena and Hockey Development, has announced that he will leave Penn State Athletics, effective Nov. 8. Battista will begin his new role with Pegula’s East Management Services as its Vice President of Hockey Related Businesses Nov. 11.

“Joe Battista has been an integral part of the Penn State community for more than 30 years as a student and employee, and I thank him for his loyal service to the University and Intercollegiate Athletics,” said Dave Joyner, Director of Athletics. “Joe’s vision, passion and tireless efforts toward bringing NCAA Division I hockey to Penn State were unmatched and it’s fitting that he was able to see both the men’s and women’s hockey programs play at Pegula Ice Arena. We wish him and his family all the best in the future.”

Battista graduated from Penn State’s Smeal College of Business in 1983. He returned to Penn State in 1987, beginning a 19-year stint as head coach of the University’s American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I club team. With the Icers, Battista captured six ACHA national titles and won more than 500 games as head coach. After the 2005-06 season, the Pittsburgh native left the bench to become the Nittany Lion Club’s executive director (2006-09). Battista then joined the Smeal College of Business as its Director of Major Gifts from 2009-10.

Joe Battista released this statement regarding his departure from the university.

“It is with mixed emotions that after more than 26 years my career at Penn State is coming to a close. I will be retiring from the University effective November 8. It has been the greatest honor to represent my alma mater as a Lion Ambassador, student-athlete, hockey coach, athletic facilities manager, fundraiser, and athletics administrator.

“Starting as a freshman hockey player in 1978, my 35 year journey has culminated with the building of the new ice arena and the launching of two varsity hockey programs. They will provide year round entertainment and activity and serve the University Community and the Commonwealth for decades and be an economic engine for local business and for Penn State.

“While this dream has come true, it is now time for me to set new goals and dream new dreams. I have accepted a position with the Pegula’s East Management Services, LP as Vice President of Hockey Related Businesses. I will be responsible for hockey development and strategic initiatives across the entire spectrum of the Pegula’s hockey organizations. I will work in collaboration with Buffalo Sabres President Ted Black, General Manager Darcy Reiger, and Chief Development Officer Cliff Benson, as well as HarborCenter CEO John Koelmel to maximize communication and to coordinate, implement, and optimize all our hockey related business.

“I am grateful to the Pegula’s for having faith in me and for giving me this wonderful opportunity.

“We have put together a terrific staff at the new $91 million Ice Arena and our varsity programs are in great hands with Coach Gadowsky and Coach Brandwene. The future is bright for Penn State Hockey.

“My wife Heidi and I want to thank the Penn State Administration, Intercollegiate Athletics, the Smeal College of Business and all our colleagues, friends, and fellow alumni who have made our remarkable journey possible.

“We will continue to proudly support Penn State and wear the blue and white forever.”

Here’s more on Battista and how he saw his dream for Division 1 hockey at Penn Stat realized.

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