Easter also marked a historic moment in college hockey, as the newest and biggest startup program in years finally named its coach, after a week full of speculation, rumors, innuendo, and a small amount of actual information.
Penn State is starting hockey in 2012, and Sunday they announced that former Alaska-Fairbanks and Princeton coach Guy Gadowsky will be the man to lead them into a new era of college athletics at the school. Gadowsky -- along with UMD's Scott Sandelin and Wisconsin women's coach Mark Johnson -- were the top candidates, according to various reports.
Here is the straight poop from Happy Valley.
"Guy is the perfect choice for Penn State," said Penn State President Graham Spanier. "He has been immensely successful, is a great motivator, knows how to build programs, and has strong academic values."
"Pursuing success with honor. Building tradition. Achieving excellence. As we launch our hockey program at the Division I level, these are the on and off-ice expectations, and Guy Gadowsky has successfully accomplished these goals and more throughout his career. We welcome Guy and his family to Hockey Valley," said Curley.
"I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to lead Penn State hockey during this transitional period and into Division I," Gadowsky said. "I am truly honored to join Penn State and the spirit, pride, passion, class and professionalism found within its students, staff and alumni. I am humbled by the tremendous gift by the Pegula family and the commitment by Penn State. This is a very exciting time for college hockey and Penn State and our family is thrilled to be joining the Penn State family."
In September 2010, the University announced an $88 million gift from Terrence M. and Kim Pegula, the largest private gift in Penn State's history, which was intended to fund a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose ice arena as well as help to establish an NCAA Division I men's hockey program. In conjunction with the gift, Penn State will establish an NCAA women's hockey program.
"I am very impressed with Guy, his pursuit of the challenge at hand and plans for Penn State hockey, stated Terry Pegula.
"We are thrilled to have successfully courted a coach from such a strong academic institution with the passion, energy and the perfect demeanor for Penn State," commented Joe Battista, Associate Director of Athletics for Ice Arena and Hockey Development. "Guy has outstanding recruiting connections across North America and with USA Hockey and Hockey Canada and has built or revived programs in college and professional hockey."
Appointed to the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Committee through 2013, Gadowsky took over a Princeton program that had won a combined eight games in the two seasons prior to his arrival for the 2004-05 campaign. During his initial five seasons, the Tigers improved their win total each year, topped by a program record 22 victories in 2008-09.
Gadowsky led Princeton to two of its three all-time NCAA Championship berths in the 110 years of the program, in 2008 and 2009.
As a collegiate head coach, Gadowsky has helped develop nine players who have played in the National Hockey League, including three of his former Princeton players who have played in the NHL this season: Mike Moore (San Jose), Darroll Powe (Philadelphia) and Kevin Westgarth (Los Angeles). A 2011 Princeton senior, AHCA second-team All-American Taylor Fedun, signed with the Edmonton Oilers, after the Tigers' season was completed.
As for Sandelin, the Duluth News Tribune notes that he'll meet again with UMD brass Monday about a contract extension, which seems like a forgone conclusion at this point. Sandelin has one year left on his current deal, and coaches rarely coach the last year of a contract.
Usually, there's a good reason why when they do ... as in, the school doesn't trust that they've got the right guy long-term. There are no such worries at UMD. Sandelin may have been bench boss through some lean years, but the Bulldogs have three straight 20-win seasons, and you may have heard about that national championship they won a couple weeks ago.
With this bit of news, hopefully the offseason can begin now. If there is any UMD news, you can obviously come here for information. But it seems like we can finally settle into a "normal" offseason now, while still floating on air over the national title.