Penn State Hockey: Gadowsky Ready to Start Next Chapter
Guy Gadowsky has been at Penn State for a year now, but with Penn State’s first Division I game since the 1946-47 season on the horizon, it feels like a brand new beginning.
Penn State starts its latest chapter in collegiate hockey 7:30 Friday night, when it takes on American International at Greenberg Ice Pavilion.
“Obviously it’s a very exciting time,” Gadowsky said. ”There has been a lot of work to get to this moment and there is plenty of work to be done. It’s a lot of fun to be with the team. It’s very difficult to hit the ground running. There are a lot of moving parts, but the athletic department has done a great job getting us where we need to be.”
For the Nittany Lions, the schedule involves some of the best programs in the nation. From the Schenectady, N.Y., based Union, a 2011 Frozen Four member, to soon to be conference foes Michigan State and Wisconsin, Penn State will play some of the top programs in the nation right out of the gate.
“We will not be judging our success and our progress by wins and losses,” Gadowsky said, speaking on the challenges that come with a first season chalk full of difficult opponents.
“We’re going to judge it by how well and how quickly we all get on the same page. That may be statistical and other aspects of the game. It isn’t going to be a matter of this many wins or this many losses. You can have great success and make great strides in ways that don’t show up on the scoreboard.”
As Penn State makes the transition from the club level to Division I, it will bring a noticeable change in the style and pace of play.
“We’ll have to step up, the speed of the athletes, more so the speed of the game,” Gadowksy said. “That will be a challenge all season. We tend to be a creative team. We don’t put a leash on our players, so it’s important to have guys with a high IQ.”
The roster includes 16 players that were members of the 2011-12 Icers squad.
“Last year was basically a yearlong tryout,” Gadowsky said. “I give all of them so much credit. They worked hard all year, they worked hard all summer. To find the other 11 was hard. We’re looking for guys with high hockey IQs and that can skate up the ice and score goals.”
The Nittany Lions named sophomore forward Tommy Olczyk captain on Oct. 2. Olczyk led the Icers in their final season at Penn State with 23 goals and 50 points in 28 games. Gadowsky noted Olczyk’s desire to help build the program for the future.
“When he came in he spoke about [building a Division I program],” Gadowsky said. “He told me, ‘I can’t wait 10-to-15 years down the road and look at what we accomplished.’ He takes pride in that and wants to be part of that. We want to find players like Tommy Olczyk, players that want to be part of that.”
Said Gadowsky: “It’s something that takes time, it’s process. It’s like a garden, you just can’t ignore it."
Hockey Midnight Madness - First open practice for the team.