If there’s any doubt that hockey has arrived in Happy Valley, just check out the headlines.
The Penn State athletic department named its new head hockey coach on Monday. In today’s edition of Morelli OnLion, we’ll take a look at the big news.
Guy Gadowsky was named the head coach of the Penn State ice hockey team on Monday. He was introduced at a news conference in the Beaver Stadium media room. Gadowsky was formally introduced by athletic director Tim Curley.
Gadowsky is Canadian, but he has no issue coming to University Park as Happy Valley transitions to Hockey Valley.
“I saw the plans and spent two minutes with Joe (Battista) and I said I want to be on board,” said Gadowsky. “Right away, I was caught in Battista’s spell.”
Gadowsky comes to Happy Valley with an impressive resume. He was selected as the 2008 Inside Hockey Coach of the Year while at Princeton.
“Everything happened so quickly and I still haven’t swallowed it yet. I had to tell my team that I’ve been with for seven years that I wasn’t coming back. When I told them it was a train wreck. I was more emotional than I have ever been in my entire life.”
There were more than 100 candidates for the program, which will go Division 1 in 2012-13 before officially joining the Big Ten in 2013-14.
Curley said that Gadowsky was an easy choice.
“There’s been a lot of question marks up until now, but we have our coach,” Curley said. “We know what direction we’re headed and Guy is already starting to put the pieces together. I think between now and a couple of months, you’ll see more progress made and Guy is starting to put his fingerprints on the plan.”
Construction of the $88 million Pegula Ice Arena is still in the beginning stages, but Gadowsky said that didn’t stop him from wanting to come on board at Penn State.
“I got a chance to meet coach Jay Paterno and I look behind him and see a drawing of a football player from one of his children with ‘We Are Penn State’ above him,” Gadowsky said. “Right away, I thought that’s exactly what I want for my family.”
Gadowsky went right to work at PSU, traveling to a coaches’ convention with Battista and current Icers’ head coach Scott Balboni.
Lions in the Draft
There probably won’t be many Penn State players selected when the 2011 NFL Draft takes place this weekend in New York City, but chances are that you’ll hear a couple of familiar names.
Offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski is expected to go in either the second or third round, while running back Evan Royster is expected to be a sixth- or seventh-round pick. It says here that both players should have successful NFL careers.
Wisniewski was a model student at Penn State and we’re guessing that he fared extremely well during the pre-draft interviews. Royster didn’t have the best season in 2010, but he also didn’t have the best line blocking for him. We’re not ready to say that Royster will be a steal in the late rounds, but he should be a serviceable running back. He has good hands, so perhaps he’d be a potential threat coming out of the backfield.
Just don’t expect to hear either name on Thursday.
Chris Morelli is an award-winning writer/editor who lives in Centre County and covers Penn State athletics for gantdaily.com. He’s also a regular on “Sports Central,” which airs on ESPN Radio in Altoona and State College. E-mail him at email@example.com. Also, be sure to check out Morelli OnLion on Facebook!