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Penn State’s Roar Zone Making The Most Of Fan-less Season

Nobody knew what to expect when the Hockey Commissioners Association delayed the start of the Division I hockey season back in September.

Student organizations that relied on in-person events were left scrambling to find ways to keep their members engaged. Once the Big Ten announced the season’s return, though, Penn State’s Roar Zone has become determined to give its members a memorable Nittany Lions hockey experience.

Despite all members watching games from their couches, the Roar Zone executive board has been making a consistent effort to make the season feel close to normal. Since most games are broadcasted on BTN+ with a paid subscription, the club hosts livestreams via Zoom for every game on top of a few other events.

“We had a small event with the team in December,” Roar Zone President Daniel Greiss said. “If I am remembering correctly, Liam Souliere and Christian Sarlo came onto the call and played some virtual games with us, did a Q&A, and then a Kahoot to get us involved. Usually, when we have in-person meetings, we will have the players and coaches come to the first meeting. We’re just trying to replicate that as much as possible.”

Despite not being in Pegula Ice Arena this season, the Roar Zone still has a presence in the building. Like Nittanyville, Penn State Athletics has allowed members of the Roar Zone to make posters and videos to be displayed in the arena during both men’s and women’s hockey games.

“At the beginning of the season, we made posters,” Greiss said. “We decided this year would be just to do Penn State posters because we’re not there to put them up. Athletics is doing us a very kind favor for doing that. And about once or twice a semester, we’ve recorded us dancing to ‘Timber’ or doing the goal celebration. At least if the parents and players look up at the jumbotron, they can see faces that they usually see on the glass.”

Even though the Roar Zone has made an effort to still have a presence in the arena, players and coaches have acknowledged that it still isn’t the same without them, including head coach Guy Gadowsky.

Penn State Athletics has also met with the executive board bi-monthly to keep the organization updated on Big Ten policies regarding spectators attending sporting events and guidelines for general body meetings.

“To my knowledge, we’re still not going to be having fans for the remainder of the season,” Greiss said. “That is not a Penn State hockey thing; that’s a Big Ten thing. That is what I’ve been told so far. When it comes to meetings, I’m making sure the Roar Zone follows all the club rules on campus.”

The organization still hasn’t seen the same turnout as it normally does. Since there is only so much to do with virtual meetings, it has been difficult for the executive board to interact with the members as much as it usually does.

Engagement could improve throughout the spring, though, since Penn State announced plans to expand student engagement and activities this semester. The executive board already has some ideas in mind if the guidelines were to change.

“If Penn State allows us to meet in-person, and it’s warm enough, we may do an outdoor watch party,” Greiss said. “We’re going to look for as many ways possible to get everyone involved and bring some sense of normalcy back into everyone’s life. We definitely have some plans in the mix, if we’re allowed to.”

More information about the Roar Zone and how to join can be found here on its website.

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About the Author

Frankie Marzano

Frankie is a sophomore accounting and economics major from Long Island, NY. You can probably recognize him as the typical Italian-American with slicked back black hair. He is an avid fan of the Rangers, Jets, Mets, and any Penn State athletics team. Follow him on Twitter @frankiemarzano for obnoxious amounts of Penn State and Rangers content.

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