The much anticipated debut of Penn State’s new $90 million hockey arena could be put on ice thanks to the government shutdown.
Penn State is scheduled to start its season, and officially christen the Pegula Ice Arena in front of a full house, against Army on Oct. 11.
But the Department of Defense has suspended all intercollegiate athletic competitions at the service academies due to the government shutdown, according to a statement from the Naval Academy.
Army canceled a soccer game Wednesday citing the Defense Department directive, and said any other changes to its athletics schedule “will be announced as they become available.”
Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said the suspension is being reviewed by Pentagon lawyers to determine whether money used for the athletic activities is appropriated by Congress.
Tracy Nelson, a spokeswoman for the Army athletics department, said there was no more information Tuesday afternoon.
But a prolonged shutdown could mean bad news for the 6,000 hockey-crazed fans who are expecting to pack the new arena for the sold-out contest against Army.
The campus is abuzz for hockey and showed it last month when about 1,000 students lined up for the first crack at tickets, some camping overnight.
If the game is canceled, it would make the official home opener the Penn State women’s Oct. 18 game against Union. The men’s hockey team doesn’t play again at home until Oct. 25 against the Rochester Institute of Technology.
The men’s team, in fact, could lose its first three games of the season, as it is set to travel to Colorado to play Air Force on Oct. 18 and 19.
Penn State athletics department officials did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.