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Joe Battista: The Inside Scoop on the Best Seats in the House for Pegula Ice Arena

by on December 13, 2012 6:39 AM

OK sports fans. Now that you can put your deposits down to get seats for next hockey season, here is my unabashedly biased review of the best seats in the house for Pegula Ice Arena. I’m not holding anything back. You want it, you got it.

So click here, sit down with a beverage of your choice and start rolling through the PDF of the Pegula Ice Arena Season Ticket and Premium Seat Brochure to organize your options and to make an informed choice with my expert help.

I have played the game for 42 years, coached for 25 years, and helped design the Pegula Ice Arena. So, according to Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers," I believe I have the requisite experience to meet his “10,000 hour rule." By the way, his book has a great chapter on the oddity of birth months for successful junior hockey players in Canada that is really interesting.

The bottom line is that for the 2013-14 season, Penn State hockey, especially in the brand new Big Ten Conference and in the brand new Pegula Ice Arena, is going to be the hottest ticket in town. The demand for that first game in the state-of-the-art $90 million ice arena is going to be incredible because everyone who is a hockey fan or a Penn State fan is going to want to be a part of history. The only way to guarantee you will be in the building for the first game is to have season tickets.

OK, full disclosure is in order here. Of course I am very biased about the opening of the new arena. It has been a life’s dream of mine to see this facility and NCAA varsity hockey come to fruition, so give me a little latitude on the exuberance part of my shtick. But I sincerely believe that early next October you will want to be one of the 6,500 fans in the standing room only crowd as a historic new era begins in “Hockey Valley.”

Take a peek at the last two pages of the PDF brochure to cut to the chase. Look over the ticket prices and get an idea for what fits your budget. Don’t forget that if you are already a member of the Nittany Lion Club you do not have to make any additional donation to get tickets. But, your NLC point total will determine your spot on seat selection day in June 2013. For those of you who don’t want to belong, we’ll forgive you, and we have set aside a section in the east end of the rink where your seats do not require a NLC donation (Blue Zone).

So now that you have a feel for the prices and the deadlines, you have to decide what is most important to you. Is it seat location? Is it the services and amenities that come along with the seat (parking, club membership, food and beverage options, etc.)? Is it price? Is it the type of seat (suite chairs are best, loge chairs next, club seats are still very comfy and all the reserved seats in the lower bowl are chairbacks)? Read through the descriptions of the various types of seats (luxury suites, loge seats, club seats and bowl seating) to whet your appetite.

Sorry students, your seats are aluminum benches because you are coming to the game to be on your feet and scream your heads off having a fun time while helping the team with home ice advantage. Because you will be the best student section in all of college hockey.

Next you need to decide from what vantage point you want to view the game. Some will prefer along the glass to feel like you are on the ice as players crash into the boards. Others will want to sit in the premium seat level to get the view of the whole playing surface. Some will want to be at center ice so you can see the action equally no matter which end of the ice we are defending. Others will want to be at the west side of the rink where our team tries to score during the first and third periods. To some it will be important to be on an aisle. To others, it will be more important to sit with friends. The options are many, and you need to review the choices and make an informed choice.

Regardless (and I am going to brag a little about the great job our architects David Murphy and Joe Corvaia have done), there is not a bad seat in the entire arena.

So hear it comes, my totally biased, unbridled recommendation for the best seats in the house. My personal opinion is that the loge seats are the primo seats in the facility, and I would pick a spot close to the end where we shoot twice (near the student section). Why are these seats the best seats in my opinion? They are in a semi-private area of between eight and 12 seats depending on the section. It is a comfortable chair on wheels so you get to move around a bit; you have a counter top to lean on and to place your food and beverage; you get a primo parking place; you get access to the Mt. Nittany Room (which is a private area on the concourse level just for loge seat holders where you can get dinner and between periods snacks and beverages); you get a game program every game; and your seat is on the last row of the concourse level which means you have easy access in and out while still being close to the action.

So there you have it. The recommendation from the guy who thinks he’s an expert. The loge seats are the way to go. But, since there are only 86 of them, you had better have a plan B, as the selection is based on Nittany Lion Club points first. These seats will assuredly go quickly now that they have the “JoeBa” seal of approval.

Well, in case you don’t believe me, remember this: At the end of the day one person’s junk is another’s treasure. So it really depends on your personal preference as to what seat is truly the best in the house. Regardless of where you decide to sit, the most important thing you can do is to put your deposit down now for season tickets because you are not going to want to miss being able to say, “I was there on that historic opening night when the crowd was so pumped up the roof almost came off the building!”

Terry Pegula asked us to create the “rockingest” atmosphere in college hockey, and you have a chance to make his vision come to life.

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From ice hockey to Intercollegiate Athletics and Smeal, Joe has been an integral part of the Penn State and State College communities since 1978. Battista was influential in the effort to bring varsity ice hockey to Happy Valley and in the building of Pegula Ice Arena. After a 2-year stint as VP of Hockey and Business administration for the Buffalo Sabres, “JoeBa” returned home to start “PRAGMATIC Passion”, LLC Consulting. Joe lives in State College with his wife Heidi (PSU ’81 &’83), daughter Brianna (PSU ’15), and son’s Jon (PSU ’16), and Ryan (State High Class of 2019).
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