Someone sent me a link, tipping me off to a press release from a company in Kansas City that does architectural work for athletic arenas. Here is the link:
Don’t bother clicking, it doesn’t work anymore.
It was a press release, saying that the company had been commissioned to do a study, with the purpose of building a 6,000 seat ice hockey arena for Penn State’s campus. The release also specifically said the arena’s purpose was to house a Division I men’s and women’s team.
As you probably know, the idea of Penn State — a seven-time champion at the club level, and a team that packs its tiny arena — becoming a full-fledged Division I program has been dreamed about for a long time. The idea of a school like that starting a program is a nice feather in the cap for college hockey. It’s also something many people fear, since it could start the wheels in motion for a Big Ten Hockey Conference to form, which would have widespread ramifications, most of them negative, in many people’s opinion.
In any case, it would be big news.
So I made some calls. I called Penn State’s athletic department. I spoke to the athletic director’s office, and a spokesperson in the office of athletic communications. They never heard of the release.
They sent me to their facilities person, Amy Mann. She never heard of it. She said that, if there was such a plan in the works, she definitely would have heard of it.
So I e-mailed the club coach. No response. I called the old club coach, Joe Battista, who now runs the Nittany Lion Club. No response.
So I called the name of the person on the press release. She said she was just someone the architecture company hired to do some marketing. She gave me the number of someone at the company, David Miller. I called him. He didn’t answer. I left a message asking about the release, and wondering what the status and nature of the project was. No response.
This was all around early afternoon. By 3 p.m. (ET) the press release link no longer worked. Still no return calls from anyone.
Dare I speculate on what happened here?
It reminds of the time, oh, about seven years ago or so. There was an ad in The Hockey News saying Hofstra University was looking for a men’s hockey coach for its “soon-to-be” Division I program. There was a whole lot of chicanery and wishful thinking involved with that one.
My guess is, this was a combination of the club program trying to push the ball forward, and the architectural company trying to embellish reality.
Penn State screwed up when it built the Bryce Jordan Center, and didn’t put ice making facilities in it. That was a dozen years ago. At this point, don’t expect D-I hockey at Penn State any time soon.
UPDATE: A local State College, Pa., paper was able to get someone at the university’s physical plant to admit that a “what if” study was done. The guy indicates that they’ve done a number of these studies over the years. So the bottom line is, it appears that people at the architecture firm severely jumped the gun with the release — embellishing reality a bit, as we first suggested — and when people started sniffing around, they pulled the release (or were ordered to).