When the Atlantic Hockey Association composite schedule was released earlier this month it showed Robert Morris in a tournament in late December at Consol Energy Center, with opponents "to be determined."
Those slots can now be filled in.
Robert Morris, along with Penn State, will play in a new college hockey tournament at Consol in December, multiple sources confirmed Tuesday.
The first Pittsburgh College Hockey Invitational will take place Dec. 28 and 29, and will feature Robert Morris, Penn State, Miami (Ohio) and Ohio State.
- Event: Pittsburgh College Hockey Invitational, Consol Energy Center
- When: Dec. 28-29
- The skinny: Robert Morris, Penn State, Miami (Ohio) and Ohio State will participate
"It's going to be a great showcase for college hockey," Colonials coach Derek Schooley said. "It gets some more name recognition teams into our area."
The Colonials have hosted showcase games at Consol and Mellon Arena the past five years. Unlike those games, which were one-off games, the new event will be a true tournament. All four teams will play Friday, and the winners and losers will face off Saturday. Pairings have not yet been determined.
"This tournament evolved from college hockey showcase and this is sort of the next progression of that," said Jay Roberts, general manager at Consol Energy Center.
Next season will be Penn State's first at a Division I level. The Nittany Lions will compete as an independent before joining the newly formed Big Ten hockey conference in 2013.
Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky announced his team's participation in the tournament at the Penn State Coaches Caravan Monday night in Pittsburgh and was met with rousing applause.
He said he hoped the nascent program would have a presence in Pittsburgh and pointed to goalie Matthew Skoff, a McKees Rocks native who was a member of Penn State's first Division I recruiting class that signed in November.
"We want to get the very best kids in Pennsylvania," Gadowsky said.
Ohio State and Miami will bring some impressive resumes into the tournament. The RedHawks have played in the NCAA tournament each of the past seven years and appeared in back-to-back Frozen Fours in 2009 and '10. Ohio State was ranked No. 1 in Division I at certain points last season.
The long-term goal for the tournament is to have Robert Morris and Penn State play every year, and bring in different high-caliber teams to round out the field. Schooley said Boston College, the defending NCAA champion, has expressed an interest in playing in the future.
"It's going to be really neat because we're going to have the opportunity to bring in some very high-level teams over the next few years," Schooley said.
Miami and Ohio State have played Robert Morris in the Colonials' showcase events the past five years. The Buckeyes beat the Colonials, 4-2, in December at Consol.
Roberts said Robert Morris has been heavily involved in planning the tournament, and Penn State will take on more from a planning perspective as the program continues to grow.
The Penguins also are assisting from a promotional and marketing standpoint. Tom McMillan, Penguins vice president of communications, said the team always has been interested in promoting college hockey in the area. When Penn State announced it was adding Division I hockey in 2010, McMillan said it seemed only natural that the area's two Division I teams come together for a high-caliber annual tournament.
First Published May 16, 2012 12:00 AM