Men's College Hockey
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Penn State to form men's and women's ice hockey programs

University Park, PA (Sports Network) - Penn State will be establishing NCAA Division I men's and women's ice hockey programs that will begin play in the 2012-13 season.

The programs will be created with the aid of the largest private gift in the university's history, announced president Graham Spanier on Friday.

The $88 million donation from Terrence M. and Kim Pegula will fund a state-of- the-art, multi-purpose arena that will house the two teams and offer enhanced figure skating opportunities, as well.

"The Pegula's unparalleled generosity will make it possible for Penn State to serve our region and our student-athletes in exciting new ways," Spanier said. "This arena will be an invaluable year-round asset for members of the university community as well as for children, youth and families throughout central Pennsylvania. The Pegula's support also will help us build a program that extends our rich tradition of preparing student-athletes for success in competition and in life."

The arena is expected to be open in December, 2013.

The Big Ten currently has five members that play men's ice hockey at the Division I level -- Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State and Wisconsin -- and released a statement about the impact of Penn State's decision.

"The Big Ten Conference is excited about Penn State's recent announcement regarding the establishment of NCAA Division I men's and women's ice hockey programs. Big Ten rules allow for a championship whenever there are six institutions sponsoring a program in any given sport. This leads to the presumption that there will be a Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Championship at some point in the future. A decision of that nature, however, cannot be made without a significant amount of discussion both internally with conference chancellors, presidents, administrators and coaches, and externally with the hockey community as a whole. Whatever we do, we will communicate in a respectful and responsible way as we endeavor to balance all of the unique interests in play."

09/17 13:22:18 ET

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