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Fung Steps Down as Head Coach




Patrick Fung, the 2013-14 ACHA Women's Division 2 Coach of the Year and Penn State women's hockey's all-time leader in most coaching categories, including seasons, games, wins and ACHA National Tournament appearances, will not return in 2017-18, as he has accepted a position with the National Hockey League's New York Islanders.

STATEMENT FROM COACH FUNG

"I have spent weeks sorting a mix of emotions and excitement to best make a decision for my family and career, balancing an incredible opportunity against leaving a university and town we love, and hockey programs in which I have invested a great part of myself over the last 16 years.

I have accepted a position in the partnership between the New York Islanders and the Beijing Hockey Association to develop hockey players for the Chinese national program in anticipation of the 2022 Beijing Olympics. This appointment offers endless opportunities to work at a world-class NHL facility with coaches, staff and ownership in the world's best hockey league, unmatched coaching and training resources and an international opportunity in my family heritage. With the upcoming preseason games and efforts to grow the game in China, this quickly became a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity we could not say no to.

Opportunities aside, it allows me to do what I love most - showing up at the rink every day and working with incredibly motivated hockey players to become better without excuses.

I want to thank Bernie Cassell and Chris Dey of the Islanders and the Beijing Hockey Association for offering this opportunity under such incredibly welcoming conditions, and Matt Bertani for his persistence with an old friend.

Thank you to Penn State, Penn State Club/Team Sports, Penn State Hockey and the countless coaches, players, support staff and volunteers over the last 16 years for giving me the home and avenue to grow as a hockey player, coach and person.

I also want to thank the current Women's Ice Hockey Club for solidifying my faith in the team's commitment to the game and striving for excellence on the ice and in the classroom. I've always said that the ability to commit to four years of this is not for everyone, and to those that can commit and keep up, you are destined for great things.

I am confident that the players who have returned to the team this year are the group that puts the final piece into rebuilding our program's identity, with an outstanding new freshman class, and a strong group of captains. Commit, give all of yourselves, find strength in the team, and dare to do what is necessary to be great, no matter how inconvenient it is."


Fung spent more than a decade and a half involved with Penn State as both a player and a coach, beginning with skating for the Ice Lions and legendary head coach Mo Stroemel, who would become his mentor and friend through his entire time at PSU.

He left for New York City following graduation, but returned to succeed Stroemel as the Ice Lions' head coach in 2004. In three seasons behind the bench of his old squad, he took PSU to the ACHA National Tournament each year while running up a superb record of 76-20-1. He also served as an assistant coach with both the Icers, Penn State's former ACHA Men's Division 1 team, and the Lady Icers. In the former role, under head coaches Joe Battista and Scott Balboni, Fung helped PSU earn six of its ACHA-record 21 consecutive national tournament bids, with national championship game appearances in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

It was the latter role that had more lasting impact, however, after Stroemel moved over to women's hockey in 2007, eventually bringing Fung with him.


With Stroemel and Fung on the staff, the Lady Icers went from their mid-decade woes of dangerously-low money, player and win totals to resuming their place as a respectable, competitive organization. Penn State returned to the ACHA National Tournament in 2009-10 and remained a national contender through Penn State hockey's structural shakeup in 2012. The 2011-12 squad won the ECHWL regular season championship and defeated NCAA Division I team Sacred Heart, as well as eventual ACHA national champion Northeastern.

Stroemel moved on after that season to join the staff of the newly-formed NCAA women's team at Penn State. Fung, meanwhile and with ACHA women's hockey's planned disappearance from the PSU landscape, was set to step away from things - until approached by former Lady Icers players seeking to reboot and continue the team's legacy, but also desperately in need of a coach.

Things certainly weren't easy during Fung's first year as a women's head coach. The team had to take what it could get in terms of ice time (minimal) and locker facilities (giant sheets draped from the rafters) while sharing the overcrowded, soon-to-be-closed Greenberg Ice Pavilion with several other teams and organizations. Penn State, in fact, did not play a single on-campus home game in 2012-13. Further complicating matters were attempts at scheduling late in the summer - the continued existence of the team was far from certain through most of the offseason - and a small roster.

Nevertheless, the re-christened Lady Ice Lions instantly became one of the top teams in ACHA Division 2, assembling a two-season record of 28-8-3 and consecutive appearances in the championship game at nationals. Along the way, Penn State defeated several of D2's top teams (notably, including then-defending national champion Wisconsin-Stout twice at the 2013 national tournament, once in double overtime) and won the 2013-14 College Hockey East regular season championship.

PSU returned to Division 1 in 2014-15, and filled the Lady Icers' familiar spot in the ECWHL, previously the team's conference from 2003 through 2012. Despite the uptick in competition, Fung's team kept winning.

The Lady Ice Lions' 17 wins that season were the fourth-best total ever by a Penn State team at the D1 level (and the most since 2006-07), and their invitation to the ACHA National Tournament marked three straight appearances overall, making Fung the only coach in PSU history to accomplish that feat. PSU's signature win in 2014-15 came on January 18, 2015 by a 4-3 count over top-ranked, defending national champion Miami. The victory snapped RedHawks unbeaten streaks of 31 games overall and 25 games at their home Goggin Ice Center.


Penn Staters also found great success individually during Fung's tenure. Five players have received All-American recognition eight times since 2012-13, most recently including Darby Kern, who became Penn State's second Division 1 first-teamer (and first since 2001-02) in 2014-15, then followed up with a second-team spot in 2015-16. Devon Fisk (2012-13 and 2013-14), Katie Vaughan (2012-13 and 2013-14), Mandy Mortach (2012-13) and Geneva Wagoner (2013-14) were also honored.

PSU is one of just two schools to have at least one player selected for every edition of the U.S. National University Women's Team, which has competed at the biennial World University Games tournament since 2011. Fung was a Lady Icers assistant when Vaughan, Denise Rohlik, Lindsay Reihl and Heather Rossi were on the 2011 squad, then the Lady Ice Lions' head coach for turns taken by Vaughan (2013), Madison Smiddy (2015) and Cassie Dunne (2017). Vaughan, the 2013 team's starting goalie, helped Team USA to a bronze medal in Trentino, Italy - the first modern-era medal won by any American squad - while Dunne captained the U.S. to a second bronze medal four years later in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

In addition to their podium finishes, Vaughan and Dunne both achieved an additional level of rare success. Vaughan became the first active ACHA player to win USA Hockey's Adult Player of the Year Award following the 2013-14 season, while Dunne recently signed with the National Women's Hockey League's Connecticut Whale, becoming just the third ACHA alumna to ink a deal in the first North American professional women's league to pay its players.

Fung's pupils have also proven notable off the ice. Thirteen of his players have met the qualifications for Academic All-American status, granted to upperclassmen who maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.50, since the ACHA reinstated the honor in 2015-16. Two players have won national ACHA awards for their exploits outside of hockey, including Off-Ice MVP Mary Kate Tonetti in 2012-13 and Community Playmaker Kelly Watson in 2016-17. Watson chaired the team's record-breaking fundraising effort in support of Penn State's IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon last year.

A native of Hillsborough, NJ, Fung departs with an overall record of 57-55-8 as the Lady Ice Lions' head coach. He surpassed Stroemel as PSU's longest-tenured head coach in terms of both seasons and games last year, and jumped over Billie Willits, another of his mentors, to become the program's all-time winningest boss during the 2014-15 campaign.

Fung's ACHA Coaching Record:
Season Team Division W L T/OTL Pct.
2004-05
Penn State
Men's D2
26
7
0
0.788
2005-06
Penn State
Men's D2
26
6
0
0.813
2006-07
Penn State
Men's D2
24
7
1
0.766
2012-13
Penn State
Women's D2
9
4
1
0.679
2013-14
Penn State
Women's D2
19
4
2
0.800
2014-15
Penn State
Women's D1
17
8
2
0.667
2015-16
Penn State
Women's D1
5
20
2
0.222
2016-17
Penn State
Women's D1
7
19
1
0.278
Career
133
75
9
0.634

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