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College Hockey:
Gadowsky: Football sanctions won’t affect Penn State hockey

The school is embroiled in controversy, but the coach says he has been emboldened by the community's reaction to adversity.

If there’s a dark cloud hanging over Happy Valley, you wouldn’t know it by talking to Penn State men’s hockey coach Guy Gadowsky.

Despite the flurry of negativity surrounding Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal, the Freeh Report implicating football coach Joe Paterno and administrators in a cover-up, and heavy punishment against the football program levied by the NCAA, Gadowsky’s views of the university and the future of his program are unchanged.

“In a strange sense, being here during this time has made me feel even stronger about the reasons why I came here in the first place,” Gadowsky said in a phone interview.

The circumstances surrounding the athletic department are less than ideal as the men’s and women’s hockey teams are about to embark on their first seasons in the Division I ranks, but Gadowsky has been emboldened by how the Penn State community has reacted to what he called “adversity.”

“It’s been different than anything I’ve experienced, but the one thing about the adversity everybody’s been going through, it makes you realize certain things,” Gadowsky said.

“It’s unfortunate the student body hasn’t gotten enough media attention because they are unbelievable, they really are. Going through this has made me realize, I knew they were great, but to see it first hand and how they respond to things makes me even more proud to be here. I have a lot of faith in them and have a lot of faith in how they’re going to support Penn State and Penn State athletics.”

“I think we have a great opportunity. We’re part of a big team that is really rallying together to show the outside world what we’re really about. Certainly, for us being a new program to be a part of that is really exciting.”

– Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky

Penn State has made it clear that its other athletic programs should remain unaffected by the severe penalties levied against the football team, which included a $60 million fine, loss of scholarships and a four-year postseason ban.

The hockey program is likely further protected due to the financial commitment made by Terry and Kim Pegula. Construction of the state-of-the-art Pegula Ice Arena is already under way after the Pegulas upped their donation from $88 million to $102 million.

The building is expected to be completed by the fall of 2013, the first season of Big Ten hockey. Pegula has remained steadfast in his commitment to building the hockey program.

In a statement released through the university, Gadowsky said, “After speaking with Mr. Pegula, I can assure you that he — with me and our entire staff — is totally committed to building our varsity hockey program and supporting our student-athletes as we prepare to compete in Division I and the Big Ten.”

Gadowsky expressed that Pegula’s support couldn’t be more important.

“It’s wonderful to speak to him because he’s so committed to the vision he has about Penn State being a great hockey school and he’s doing everything he can to help us achieve that,” Gadowsky told USCHO. “His support is tremendous not only for the program, but it’s inspiring to me personally.”

Gadowsky said nothing has changed among his current players and recruits, despite the current situation in Happy Valley.

“Hockey is somewhat removed from it from a couple standpoints,” the former Princeton and Alaska head coach explained.

“I think [the players are] concerned, but I think they understand because a lot of them have been to campus, a lot of them understand the school as whole has been painted with a brush.”

Gadowsky admitted he has fielded some calls from concerned parents, asking him about his views on the situation and what it might mean for the hockey program. He said he has assured them the hockey team will remain unaffected.

When it comes to recruiting going forward, Gadowsky said the impact of the scandal and the fallout remains to be seen, but he remains optimistic.

“When [recruits] see how the student body and our athletics program is dealing with this going forward, I think it will mean even more to come here,” he said. “In a strange sense, it’s certainly not going to be immediate, but by the way Penn Staters deal with this, Penn State hockey will become even more attractive.”

The head coach said that despite recent events, there’s still a lot of good in the athletic department.

“[Outsiders] talk about changing the culture at Penn State,” Gadowsky said. “I don’t like that statement because the culture that we see at Penn State with the student-athletes and the student body, if you look at our compliance record, we’ve been the leaders in that and the shining star in that. I really disagree with that statement.”

While Penn State remains mired in controversy, Gadowsky believes the hockey team can be part of a new athletic tradition at the school.

“I think we have a great opportunity,” he said. “We’re part of a big team that is really rallying together to show the outside world what we’re really about. Certainly, for us being a new program to be a part of that is really exciting.”


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  • jdhockeyboyz

    I agree with the coach. Football will cast a shorter shadow in the short term and that will benefit the lower profile sports on campus.

  • Guest

    Am I the only one now who thinks that Penn State should stay out of college hockey and that we should keep the league format the way it is? They just appear to be the problem child in every sport and I’m hoping they don’t destroy D1 hockey like they did their own football program

    • om

      you are the only one probabley who thinks that way, one creep has no power to destroy everything that is good! Penn State will rise above it and with it all its members…..We are not going to take this, we’ll endure, move on and get stronger everyday……

      • MN state puck.

        Penn St. hockey,what? Thank you for my chuckle of the day. And still do since its announcement. The new Big Ten hockey league is a money only decision! How long before I see a competitive team when you play the Gophers here at MN? I’m all for quality programs, stick to what you know in Happy Valley, football, whose revenue is valuable for all the sports. To bad they are wrecking a good, fun, competitive, talented WCHA! Go after those covering up past sins, they must have had knowledge something wasn’t right, not the athletes earning an education.

        • MN state puck

          Bulldog fan. I agree. Cover up is the word. I hope prison justice has its way! So i’m told there is a justice system in penitentaries.
          To bad greed will destroy a great WCHA conferance that’s been built up over the past 20 years, adding Bemidji, Omaha etc. I’ve seen enough of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Michingan St. over the years!
          Go NCHA, the gopher administrators are making a mistake!!!!! I’m very adament about this. I’ll have to switch to Bemidji TV coverage!

        • om

          Gophers?? you’re choking….the season has not started yet….we’ll see. ..just love people who think they know it all……….

      • BulldogFan

        There was way more than 1 creep at that school. Everyone that was involved in the cover up of children be raped on that campus for YEARS is as big of a creep as Sandusky. Any fan of PSU that thinks that the punishment is unfair is a creep. The leadership of the athletic department knew what was going on and did nothing. How many more kids were raped because of this. Its amazing that some people associated with PSU think that they are being treated unfairly by the punishment. Yeah PSU is clearly the victim. SERIOUSLY!

        • BCfan

          okay, so 5 or 6 creeps then? they still have no power to destroy what is good. People really have to stop implicating guilt on a whole faculty, staff and university for the sins of a few people. be realistic. that is just not fair.

          • om

            Thank you! finally somebody is getting it! We all condemn to take a life, which has happened to these innocent children – I also condemn people who take a life with guns, AND THAT IS STILL LEGAL IN THIS COUNTRY!!

        • om

          …..everyone who was involved is not even there anymore, except for the students……why do you keep harping about the past…..why did these victims not come out sooner???? why now…this should have been exposed a long time ago….it is not an excuse – the same happened within the Catholic churces…… and stop being so frickin righteous , PSU is the victim, the students who had nothing to do with this get punished, do you get this?

          • Guest

            Sanctions against the university are the only way to deter other programs from doing the same thing. It certainly is not the student’s fault, but unfortunately they will have to suffer the consequences. It sucks for a PSU fan for sure, but it was a viable option for the NCAA. (In my opinion it was the right option too.)

          • om

            I am not disagreeing with the fine, however, penalizing the athletes… I disagree…. and I disagree with this lynchmob out there ….get of the bandwagon and be objective and fair for the students and university faculties who deserve our respect for continuing, dispite the harsh critisism and finger pointing……..

          • Guest

            It’s no bandwagon that I’m on. I’m just happy that the NCAA is finally holding institutions accountable for criminal behavior. There are too many under-the-table deals and cover-ups going on for the sole seedy purpose of garnering more money for these supposed public universities. I’m one of the biggest fans of college sports, but am ashamed that money has become more important than true amatuer competition. Yes, the fans and students did not cover up what was going on, but high ranking representatives of the university did. The university should suffer for a while and others should take note. I felt the same way about Ohio State, and I’ll feel the same way about the next university program that gets exposed, even if it is my alma mater.

  • lakes19

    Do you really think corporate money is going to come into Penn St. now to support athletics?
    This scandal will have an effect on all programs at the University. The football money helps pay for the rest of the sports at Penn St. and you have now lost that.
    If i’m the other Big Ten schools, I would reconsider forming untill a few other Big Ten schools announce hockey teams.

    • Fan Man

      As much as I would like to see the Big Ten delayed, you and I both know that will not happen with the new $100 million dollar arena being built there, ready to open at the start of 13′.

    • OM

      you have to be slightly retarded to believe this garbage, what in hell has Penn state university to do with it or its students or programs??? The Perv used the facilities – THESE PROGRAMS WERE NOT PART OF PENN STATE UNIVERSITY – WHEN DO PEOPLE GET THAT?????EVER|??? GIVE YOUR HEAD A SHAKE AND PUNISHING THE KIDS OR THE UNIVERISTY!!!! YOU’RE STILL SELLING GUNS AND PEOPLE KILLING OTHER INNOCENT PEOPLE – WHEN IS THIS GOING TO CHANGE??? DO THE PEOPLE SELLING THE GUNS GET FINED FOR SELLING GUNS TO UNSTABLE PEOPLE!! LOOK NO FURTHER THEN AT YOUR OWN DOORSTEP!!

  • GoTigers

    A Guy Gadowsky coached team will be strong on the ice and in the classroom and will display great character in all matters personal and related to the team and the school. His record at Princeton and Alaska proves it.

    • om

      100%