The arena is named after Terry and Kim Pegula, whose $88 million donation was made to create a first class hockey program for the school. Terry is a Penn State alum who became a multi-billionaire in the natural gas industry. In 2011, he bought the NHL's Buffalo Sabres.
The school's men's and women's hockey programs had competed at a club level with the American Collegiate Hockey Association before both teams began playing at the NCAA Division I level in 2012. The men's team is in the Big Ten Conference, while the women play in the College Hockey America (CHA) conference.