Penn State gets chance to show off new arena
UNIVERSITY PARK — Joe Battista smiled like a proud father during a tour of Pegula Ice Arena that he helped lead Saturday morning.
There was a good reason.
Battista has been tasked with implementing Terry Pegula’s vision for the arena, which is scheduled to open in early September. And it doesn’t appear that Penn State’s newest sporting venue will be lacking for much if anything.
It will have amenities associated with modern sports playgrounds, such as luxury suites, without sacrificing the home-ice advantage Pegula demanded when he donated $100 million for the arena that bears his name.
The student section is built as steep as building code allows, and it’s right behind the net the visiting goaltender will mind for two of the three periods. Roughly 1,000 of the 6,000 seats are reserved for students, who figure to cram into Pegula Arena on Oct. 11 when Penn State christens the building with a game against Army.
“(Pegula) said he wanted it so loud it would sound like a little kid in a tin can with a hammer,” said Battista, Penn State’s associate athletic director for Pegula Ice Arena and varsity hockey.
More than just money has been sunk into the arena that is symbolic of Penn State’s jump to major college hockey.
Battista said he visited and studied more than 40 hockey facilities, including Consol Energy Center, before construction started on Pegula Arena.
When Pegula is completed, it will have two full-length rinks — the auxiliary one will be used for junior hockey games and community skates — a 5,200 square-foot weight room, spacious locker rooms that include hydrotherapy tubs, seating for NHL scouts and a club area that will be rented out.
Battista said he has received season-ticket orders for 3,000 of the 5,000 seats that will be sold to the general public.
“And we haven’t really started to market it yet,” Battista said. “There’s not a bad seat in this arena.”
Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @ ScottBrown_Trib.