Penn State to add Division I men's and women's varsity ice hockey

University Park, Pa. -- In conjunction with the largest private gift in the history of Penn State to fund a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose arena, Penn State will establish NCAA Division I men's and women's ice hockey programs. The two teams are slated to begin competition in the 2012-13 season.

The addition of men's and women's ice hockey at Penn State will increase the number of sports that Intercollegiate Athletics offers to 31, which will tie it for third among the 120 institutions in the NCAA's Football Bowl Subdivision. Within that category, only Stanford (35) and Ohio State (34) field more sports, while Boston College also has 31. The last varsity athletic team that Penn State added was women's soccer in 1994.

"This is the fulfillment of a dream for many that have been long-time advocates and supporters of Penn State hockey," said Athletic Director Tim Curley. "As with all of our programs, we will expect both the men's and women's teams to compete for championships and achieve at a high level."

Penn State's current club hockey programs have experienced success throughout their respective histories. Established as a club team in 1971-72 after fielding a varsity squad from 1939-40 to 1945-46, the Icers have won seven ACHA National Championships. The Lady Icers began as a club program in 1996-97 and have made appearances in the 2000-01 ACHA Final Four, six National Tournaments (including the 2009-10 tournament), and were the 1999 Mid-Atlantic Women's Collegiate Hockey Association (MAWCHA) champions after an undefeated season.

"We are excited to add ice hockey as a varsity sport for women at Penn State," said Susan Delaney-Scheetz, associate athletic director and senior woman administrator. "The sport is growing in popularity, and the new facility will help showcase our women's programs and allow us to grow our tradition of recruiting top student-athletes to Penn State. We have great expectations for the future success of both the men's and women's programs."

Terry and Kim Pegula's $88 million gift to fund the state-of-the-art arena, as well as help establish the men's ice hockey team, made the addition of ice hockey as a varsity sport at Penn State possible (see the related story at online).

"The Pegulas' unparalleled generosity will make it possible for Penn State to serve our region and our student-athletes in exciting new ways," said Penn State President Graham Spanier. "This arena will be an invaluable year-round asset for members of the University community, as well as for children, youth and families throughout central Pennsylvania, and it will be an engine for economic growth and development. The Pegulas' support also will help build a program that extends our rich tradition of preparing student-athletes for success in competition and in life."

"The construction of the new arena will be entirely funded by private gifts," said Rod Kirsch, senior vice president of development and alumni relations. "Penn State will now be launching an ambitious campaign to ask other donors to join Terry and Kim in supporting this facility and the creation of other endowments to support the hockey and skating programs. Our goal is to make this arena, and the vast array of activities to be held in it, the national model by which all other programs are measured."

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Last Updated November 18, 2010