Notes, quotes and analysis from Neil Koepke on Friday's win at Michigan.
Coach Anastos previewed this weekend's home-and-home series against Michigan.
Anastos previewed this weekend's trip to Penn State.
Anastos previewed this weekend's trip to Wisconsin.
The head coach previewed Sunday's home game against Northeastern.
Michigan State hockey media day, Sept. 30, 2015
2014 Spartan Hockey Media Day, East Lansing
Members of the A-Team enjoyed the company the Michigan State Hockey team Tuesday night at dinner.
Unrivaled passion for the game, a savvy blend of administrative, business and communication skills and a Who's Who list of connections provides Anastos a progressive vision and dynamic leadership for college hockey. He brings all of that to Michigan State to advance the on-ice success and stature in college hockey of his alma mater, where he will guide the Spartans into their 76th varsity season.
Anastos continues to advance all facets of the Spartan hockey program. He has coached two All-Americans and since the inaugural Big Ten season in 2013-14, the Spartans have had seven all-conference selections, two all-freshman team honorees, a player of the year and Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient. In the classroom, the Spartans have had 45 Academic All-Big Ten selections, second most in the league over the last three years, and 14 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars.
Additionally, Munn Ice Arena has undergone significant upgrades with Anastos at the helm of the program. All new seating, redesigned special seating platforms, video boards, LED ribbon boards, lighting, ice plant and HVAC system are part of the recent building improvements leading to a broader impending renovation.
The promising future was highlighted in 2015-16 with the emergence of several young players, including Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection Zach Osburn and forward Mason Appleton, who produced the most points by a Spartan rookie in six years.
The 2014-15 season was one of progress for the Spartans as Anastos guided the team to a second-place finish in the Big Ten regular-season standings and a 17-16-2 overall record (11-7-1 Big Ten). The season also saw the emergence of several players, but none bigger than goaltender Jake Hildebrand, who became the second First-Team All-America selection under Anastos and also garnered Big Ten Player and Goaltender of the Year honors.
Anastos' first season as head coach (2011-12) featured an experience-laden team with nine seniors and 14 upperclassmen overall. The team compiled a 19-16-4 overall record, a fifth-place finish in the regular-season CCHA standings, and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Competing with the second-most difficult schedule in the country, the Spartans received the at-large NCAA berth, its first trip to the national tournament since 2008 and 27th overall. Junior and two-time captain Torey Krug led the team with a standout individual effort, earning CCHA Player of the Year, Defensive Defenseman of the Year, and First Team All-CCHA honors. He was also a First Team All-America pick as well as one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award. Krug opted to forego his senior season in Green and White, signing with the Boston Bruins and played in a pair of regular-season games for the NHL club that spring.
With a young roster that featured 10 true freshmen in 2012-13, Anastos guided the Spartans to a 2-1 series win over Alaska on the road in the opening round of the CCHA Tournament. The Spartans ended the year by pushing the top-seeded Miami RedHawks to a decisive third game in the CCHA quarterfinals.
The Spartans' rebuilding effort continued in 2013-14 as another young team was guided by a group of seniors. The defensive-minded Spartans led the nation in blocked shots per game at 17.67 and ranked 20th nationally in goals allowed per game.
Despite his move from commissioner to head coach of a collegiate program, Anastos has continued his leadership within the sport as he was appointed as the Big Ten's representative to the NCAA Hockey Rules committee during his first season at the helm. In June 2012, he was selected as the group's chair. One of the major discussion points that the Anastos-led group has on its current agenda is research and gathering data in regards to NCAA athletes wearing a visor instead of the current full-facial protection worn by the players in college hockey. Additionally, Anastos serves as the Big Ten's representative on the Board of Directors of College Hockey, Inc., an organization that he was part of establishing in 2009, designed to help promote college hockey.
Anastos, who was honored as MSU's "Distinguished Spartan" by the hockey program in 2004, both played and coached at his alma mater before stepping into an administrative role. He was a four-year letterwinner at Michigan State (1981-85) for former coach Ron Mason, and received his bachelor's degree in construction management in 1987. He was in the first class of Michigan State players to skate exclusively in the CCHA after MSU left the WCHA as he helped the Spartans to three Great Lakes Invitational titles, a regular-season CCHA Championship in 1985, and four consecutive CCHA Tournament titles. His Spartan teams made four NCAA Tournament appearances, finishing fourth in the country in 1984 and losing a heartbreaking quarterfinal series to Providence in 1985. As a senior, he earned second-team all-conference honors and was named to the all-tournament teams at the CCHA Tournament and Great Lakes Invitational. In his career, Anastos skated in 151 games, scored 70 goals and recorded 73 assists for 153 points, and amassed 102 penalty minutes. He still holds the MSU record for short-handed goals in a season (7, scored in 1983-84), and ranks in a tie for fourth in the MSU annals with 10 career short-handed markers.
Anastos, a 2000 inductee into his hometown Dearborn (Mich.) Sports Hall of Fame, played junior hockey for the Paddock Pools Saints of the NAHL and was the first player ever drafted from the league by an NHL team when the Montreal Canadiens selected him in 1981. The sixth-round pick of Montreal (124th overall) played one season in the Canadiens organization, then joined the coaching staff at the University of Michigan-Dearborn where he served as head coach of that program from 1987-90, compiling a 68-37-7 record.
In the fall of 1990, Anastos returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach under Ron Mason for two years. Those two teams went a combined 43-28-13, and in 1991-92, advanced to the Frozen Four.
In his role as CCHA commissioner, he oversaw the growth and changes in the membership over 13 years, and in April 2010, the CCHA played host to the record-breaking 2010 NCAA Men's Frozen Four at Ford Field in Detroit, the first Frozen Four to be held in a non-traditional hockey venue. A crowd of 34,954 watched the semifinal games and 37,592 attended the title game between Boston College and Wisconsin. The individual day attendance marks and the three-game total of 72,546 easily shattered the Frozen Four records, and the title-game attendance figure stands as the North American record for an indoor hockey game.
In concert with his role of CCHA commissioner, Anastos served as the president of the Hockey Commissioner's Association (HCA), a group comprised of the five commissioners from NCAA Division I Hockey. The HCA addresses common issues and concerns at a national level, and the group's efforts include on-going discussions with the NHL's corporate office in New York, sponsorship of the annual Ice Breaker Tournament and the College Hockey All-Access radio show on NHL Home Ice.
In 2009, in his capacity as president of the HCA, he spearheaded a college hockey delegation which traveled to Florida to meet with the 30 general managers of NHL teams. The same year, he was key in the procuring of a grant from the National Hockey League through USA Hockey. The funding was used by the Anastos-led HCA to create College Hockey Inc., an educational and promotional entity charged with raising the profile and help foster the growth of college hockey. Now in its seventh year, College Hockey Inc. is under the direction of Executive Director Mike Snee.
Anastos' commitment to growing the sport has resulted in an annual statewide celebration known as "Hockey Day in Michigan" The grass roots initiative, which includes the live broadcast of two CCHA games on FOX Sports Detroit, has been successfully imitated by USA Hockey to encourage fans, players, coaches and officials to unite in their passion for their sport and help introduce others to the game.
Television also was a focal point for the CCHA under Anastos. The CCHA was the first hockey conference to sign television agreements with CBS Sports Network (formerly CSTV), Toronto, Canada-based Leafs TV, and the NHL Network.
Prior to his appointment with the CCHA, Anastos served as president of the North American Hockey League, a Tier II junior league, for four seasons. During that time, the NAHL attracted strong ownership groups and developed into one of the top leagues for college-bound players in the United States.
Recognized by The Hockey News in five of the past 10 years on the list of the 100 most influential and powerful people in the sport (most recently No. 46 in 2011), Anastos was very active in amateur hockey, both as a coach in the Detroit-based Honeybaked hockey program and as an administrator, prior to his appointment at MSU. He had been one of two NCAA representatives on USA Hockey's board of directors and was a long-time member of its International Council and Junior Council which oversaw the activities of the organization's international programs and US junior hockey.
Anastos also served on the board of directors for One Goal, a non-profit organization comprised of hockey's North American industry leaders seeking to improve awareness and understanding of hockey, so parents can make informed decisions about involving their families in the game and he currently serves as a member of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame Advisory Board.
Anastos, 53, and his wife Lisa have five children: daughters Lauren, Jenna, Alyssa, and Andie and son Drew.