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Pegula Investments Seen As Driver For Penn State Hockey Program's Early Success

Pegula Investments Seen As Driver For Penn State Hockey Program's Early Success

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PSU's Pegula Ice Arena has been sold out for all but two games since it opened
Penn State’s hockey team won the Big Ten Tournament this weekend, securing its first berth in the NCAA Tournament after "only four years" of playing a full D-I schedule, according to Gary Santaniello of the N.Y. TIMES. The program was “jump- started in May 2010,” when Bills and Sabres Owner Terry Pegula -- a PSU alum -- pledged $102M to the university along with his wife Kim. Of that, $88M “was for a new hockey arena; the rest was to finance scholarships.” Terry Pegula’s days as a youth “going to Sabres games at Memorial Auditorium inspired him to prod the lead architect, David Murphy, to create a steeply pitched student section behind the goal occupied for two periods by the opposing goalie.” Called the Roar Zone, the 1,000 seats that “extend from ice level to the rafters sell out in minutes at the start of each season.” PSU coach Guy Gadowsky said, “A big part of what’s happening here is the support of the student body and the Roar Zone.” Santaniello noted as an official student organization, the Roar Zone “meets monthly to brainstorm new cheers and routines intended to energize the crowd and unnerve the visiting goalie.” Current Roar Zone President Chris Godissart, a PSU senior, said interest in the school’s hockey program had “blown up” over the last four years. The combination of Pegula Ice Arena, which has been “sold out for all but two games since it opened; the resources of Penn State; and a conference with its own cable TV network makes the university an increasingly desirable location for recruits” (N.Y. TIMES, 3/18).

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