This is how Penn State hockey looks on TV now. I love that the game is still played at the old Joe Paterno Field. The old stadium is in the heart of the city, which is part of the reason it is so great. The new arena, which is called Bob and Doug McKenzie Arena, is right next door. I love how the new arena is right next to the old arena.
The Penn State hockey team is a bit of an odd duck. In the old place, it was a very small school (even in the 1970s). In the new place, it is almost an all-star team. I love how they have a bunch of “power forwards” (who are actually just guys named Nick and Dave) who are the best in the country and are the best players on the team.
Their coach, Joe Paterno, is a former forward for the Devils. Paterno has been able to mold this team into the model it is today. In Paterno’s time, the Devils were considered the best team in the country. That was until they lost in the finals to the Montreal Canadiens.
For the first time in my career, I am actually, on a football field, in a state college. The field is a beautiful one, with a huge, high school-built scoreboard. It had been a tradition for the program to go back to what they know best, ice hockey. This year, the Devils played in their first (and probably last) ever state championship game.
This year was particularly special because it was the first time the team had ever played in the state finals. This was the first time the team had ever played in the big time. But it was also the time they had won the conference title with a conference record of seven wins and one loss. The Devils had gone to the Frozen Four for the first time in four years, and this year they went to the state finals for the first time since the ’90s.
The Devils scored a combined 718 goals last season and were the state’s top-scoring team. They also had the second-most assists and went to a Frozen Four. But that was all in the past. Last year, they lost to the Badgers in the championship game and then fell to the Spartans by the narrowest of margins in the title game.
As many of you know, Wisconsin is considered the state that actually uses hockey as a sport. The Wisconsin Hockey Association has a history of producing some excellent hockey teams. The last team to win the state title was in 2002. The last team that scored a combined seven hundred and fifty goals was in 2013.
One of the best of these teams was Penn State’s hockey team. The Nittany Lions won the state title in 2000 and were one of the top teams in the nation in 2002. So when the Nittany Lions’ president said that the team needed to win back-to-back state titles, it wasn’t exactly surprising. And when the Nittany Lions made it to the Frozen Four in 2013, they made it to the NCAA tournament as well.
The Nittany Lions got back-to-back state titles in 2000 and 2003, they made back-to-back Frozen Four appearances in 2012 and 2013, and they made back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances in 2001 and 2003. So yeah, they are pretty good.
What we like to call “A” team in the NCAA tournament is the Penn State Nittany Lions. They were ranked in the top five in the country in 2002 and 2003. They made back-to-back Frozen Four appearances in 2012 and 2013. And they made back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances in 2001 and 2003. So yeah, they’re pretty good.