Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Women's Team Makes Staff Additions

After the men's program added a strength coach, a trainer and an equipment manager on July 17th, it was only a matter of time before the women did the same, and those transactions were announced by Josh Brandwene today.

One of those additions is strength and conditioning coach Rob McLean, who will also fill that role for the men.

Another is equipment manager Graham Pepperman, who has held that role for the Icers, the 2011 women's World University Games team (coached by Mo Stroemel and featuring four Lady Icers, including NCAA defender Lindsay Reihl), and most recently the CHL's Dayton Gems (where former Icers goalie Brian Gratz was his boss as the Gems' head coach/GM).

Athletic Trainer Sarah Leslie is also someone who doesn't need a map to get around campus, as she's previously worked with three other varsity teams at PSU.

When combining these moves with the reassignment of Stroemel in April and the hire of Casey McCullion, it would now seem as if the men and women have parallel staffs, both of which are ready to lead Penn State into NCAA competition for the first time.

Here's the full text of the release:

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State women's hockey head coach Josh Brandwene announced the additions of strength & conditioning coach Robert McLean, athletic trainer Sarah Leslie, and equipment manager Graham Pepperman on Wednesday.

Previously added to the Penn State men's hockey team on July 17, McLean is a veteran in the profession, working for nine years with the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils. McLean comes to Penn State from the Avalanche where he served as the head strength & conditioning coach after two years with BRS Sports. McLean is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

"I am absolutely thrilled to welcome Rob to the Penn State hockey family," Brandwene said. "He has worked successfully with many NHL players, and his training philosophies are in exact alignment with the conditioning goals for our program. We are very grateful to have his day-to-day involvement with the women's team."

Leslie joins the Penn State women's hockey team after three years working with Penn State's track & field (2009-10), men's lacrosse (2011-12) and field hockey (2010-11) teams. A 2005 graduate of Western Michigan, Leslie earned her masters of science in athletic training at West Virginia in 2009. Additionally Leslie is certified by the National Athletic Trainers' Association as well as the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Before Penn State, Leslie worked with the Waynesburg University athletic department from 2007-09 as well as the University of Florida's training staff during the 2006-07 season.

"Sarah has already demonstrated her value to our program in a very short period of time," Brandwene noted. "She is highly organized and has prior tenure with a number of other collegiate programs that bring valuable experience to our student-athletes."

Rounding out Brandwene's additions is Pepperman, who was the head equipment manager for the Dayton Gems in the Central Hockey League during the 2011-12 campaign. Pepperman is a 2009 Penn State graduate with a bachelor's of science in organizational leadership. Pepperman served as Penn State club men's hockey equipment manager for four seasons before moving on to the USA Hockey program. Pepperman was the head equipment manager for the Women's National University Team at the 2011 World University Games in Erzurum, Turkey.

"Graham's experience in professional hockey will be a tremendous asset to our program," said Brandwene. "His organizational skills and enthusiasm will create a fantastic day-to-day experience for our student-athletes."

The Penn State women's hockey program begins its inaugural season under the direction of Brandwene with practices beginning in September and the first game in program history on Oct. 6 at Vermont.

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