What has been speculated for a couple months is now official: Cornell (12-7-5, 8-6-4 ECAC in 2013-14) will face off against Penn State (5-19-2, 1-10-1-1 Big Ten) at Madison Square Garden on November 29, 2014.
"We're excited to play at the World's Most Famous Arena for the first time with the support of Penn State's passionate alumni and fans in the area," Penn State men's hockey head coach Guy Gadowsky said in a release Wednesday. "Cornell is one of the top programs in the country, and it will make for an exciting night of hockey for everyone involved."
The Frozen Apple is a recent addition to what has been a biannual New York City showcase on Thanksgiving weekend for the Big Red. Cornell has played Boston University at Madison Square Garden every other year since 2007. In 2012, Cornell faced Michigan, a rematch of the 2012 NCAA Tournament first round, in the inaugural Frozen Apple during the off year between the Terriers game. (The Big Red won that game 5-1.)
This time around the opponent is Penn State, a school that, despite being in its second season of D1 hockey, brings with it name recognition and a New York City alumni base. The Nittany Lions have played Cornell before - on February 5, 1944 during a time when PSU fielded a varsity hockey team for five seasons - but not since the Big Ten school received a $102 million donation from Terry Pegula.
Guy Gadowsky's squad will have its chance Thanksgiving weekend.
"This is a terrific opportunity to play one of the most talked about college hockey programs in the country at such an elite venue," Cornell head coach Mike Schafer said. "We're extremely excited to play Penn State, which has been building a great program and will surely be a perennial national contender."
The Frozen Apple match-up between Cornell and Penn State has been rumored since December when a radio broadcaster let it slip during an interview.
Wednesday's news confirms Cornell's opponent being the Nittany Lions, which has already played annual games in both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. While the history between the Big Red and Penn State isn't there, the hope is that the fans will. New York City has hosted more regular season games lately. Harvard and Yale brought in an announced crowd of 15,234 at Madison Square Garden last month for the Rivalry on Ice; an event at MSG which will be repeated next season.
Cornell has done better. Both the Red Hot Hockey games against BU and the inaugural Frozen Apple have sold out the 18,000 seat Madison Square Garden and brought with it media attention.
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate