Penn State to add men's and women's hockey programs for 2012 season

Penn State announced Friday it plans to enter Division I men's and women's hockey, leading to rumors of a Big Ten hockey championship in the future.

The Nittany Lions confirmed weeks of mounting speculation when they announced an $88 million gift from alumnus Terrence Pegula and his wife, Kim Pegula, for a new hockey arena, set to open in December of 2013. Tim Curley, Penn State's director of intercollegiate athletics, said the Nittany Lions plan to leave the American Collegiate Hockey Association and enter the NCAA's Division I for the 2012-'13 season.

""We're very proud of the success that our ACHA club hockey program has achieved, and this gift will allow us to take the sport to a completely new level at Penn State,"" Curley said in a statement.

Penn State will become the sixth Big Ten school with a Division I hockey team when they join in 2012, which has some fans and experts wondering if this could mean a Big Ten hockey conference.

The five current Big Ten hockey programs are split between the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, home of Wisconsin and Minnesota, and the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, where Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State play. According to Big Ten rules, six is the minimum number of programs for a championship.

The Big Ten released a statement Friday acknowledging the speculation about a hockey conference, but said any decision ""cannot be made without a significant amount of discussion.""

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Cardinal.