Penn State suffered its first loss of the hockey offseason early Tuesday morning.
Defenseman Vince Pedrie announced on several social media platforms he signed with the New York Rangers and will forgo his final two seasons with the Nittany Lion hockey program.
“I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity,” he wrote in a post on Twitter, “and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
Pedrie was one of the team’s top two-way defensemen, always willing to jump in on the offensive end and crash the net. He posted eight goals and 21 assists this season, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors, and had 16 goals and 35 assists over his two years.
He helped the Nittany Lions to the Big Ten tournament title, a berth in the NCAA tournament and a first-round win against Union before the team fell to Denver 6-3 Sunday night to end the season.
“The memories I’ve made in just two years will last a lifetime,” he wrote. “I love everything about this university and I will always be a proud Penn Stater.”
Pedrie joins Minnesota’s Vinni Lettieri, who also signed with the Rangers on Monday, and the team announced both signings later in the day. Coach Guy Gadowsky was looking at the bright side of the loss, even if he has to replace a key defenseman.
“It’s something that we expect is going to happen more and more,” Gadowsky said. “Vince has been a great player for us, and a great person, a great representative for our program, the university and he’s a really good guy.”
Gadowsky did not know of any other possible signings with pro teams as of Tuesday afternoon.
The coach knows the decision was not taken lightly, and he expects to see Pedrie hitting the ice at Madison Square Garden soon.
“You don’t leave Penn State University to sign pro,” Gadowsky said. “You leave Penn State University if you’re going to play in the NHL. Obviously him and his agent believe that’s a very good option right now.”
Coaches and team members thought the departure could be a possibility, given how well he played this past season. Most of his teammates found out Tuesday morning.
“You look at the work that guys put in, especially this summer; it’s incredible” said senior forward Ricky DeRosa, who is also weighing his future. “The guy works so hard, he deserves it.”