Thursday, May 5, 2011

Breakout Past: The More Things Change...

This two-part article appeared in the Collegian on April 7th and 8th, 1977. Part one:

Click for readable size.

Boy that Scannell fellow is a true champion of the sport, isn't he? "The alumni don't care about hockey, so we won't bother them all with this nonsense, maybe just the ones who participated in that activity. Then we'll aggressively interrogate each person who donates to this otherwise-useless building to make sure they still contribute as much to things that matter (like indoor track - we'll have a better facility than Madison Square Garden!) as they did before. I'm pretty good at marginalizing things, so we won't even start the process of building a new rink until it's paid for, and who cares if the hockey team has no home ice for a few years. Certainly not the alumni! Hahahahahaha...." That's what I read anyway.

I'm not going to get fully into the circumstances surrounding this (future post alert - I'm fascinated by the history of The Pavilion, as it was called), but as mentioned in the article, the home rink of the Icers from 1971-1978 was indeed converted into an indoor practice facility for football and other sports. In a fittingly bizarre conclusion, the newly-purposed facility largely moved past its usefulness when Holuba Hall was completed just eight years later. People who didn't think the former ice rink's indoor track was such hot stuff provided the death blow with the construction of the Ashenfelter Multi-Sport Facility in 1999 (shameless self-linkage here), and it was demolished to make room for the Lasch Football Building, which opened in 2000.

On to part two:

Now, Scannell's assertion is essentially that club hockey teams draw better than varsity ones because club teams "work hard." Don't let Mr. Pegula see that or he might want his money back. That ACHA D2 team at Wisconsin must draw like 30,000 people a game.

Dean Scannell, I hope you're still alive and well, but only so you can feel like the idiot you are.

So let's review. In the first part, we had discussion about elevating the hockey program to varsity status, needing a bunch of money to make it happen and playing against the Big Ten schools if it did. Now, we're talking about the growth of hockey in Pennsylvania, the idea of playing an independent schedule for a couple years before joining a conference, the idea that hockey should be self supporting, and the size the rink needs to be to make that so. Reminder: Joe Battista was a senior in high school when this was written.

As we all know, the epilogue is that Penn State did end up with that new rink, the Ice Pavilion, which was completed in 1981 (between 1978 and then, home games were played in Mechanicsburg, with practice on flooded tennis courts). The capacity of roughly 1,200 is a lot smaller than anyone, even Scannell, expected in 1977, although there is that non-load-bearing wall. But as we also know, the hopes and expectations that a new rink would inevitably bring varsity status was not met, that one took a new new rink.

1 comment:

  1. Best part was the team won back to back league championships on the road sticking it to the administration. They went like 33-7-2 during those Mechanicsburg seasons