July 20, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- - On Wednesday, July 18, 55 women came to Munn Ice Arena for the first-ever Spartan Women's Hockey Clinic, and spent more than five hours learning more about the MSU program and the game overall.
"We have been overwhelmed with the amount of positive feedback we received," said Tom Anastos, who mirrored his women's clinic after the one run by Mark Dantonio in the MSU football program. "We wanted to give our female fans a chance to really get a good look at some of the behind-the-scenes things that a fan coming to a game wouldn't be able to see. We as a staff got to meet them, and the ladies who came also got to meet and interact with our players. Our staff had an absolute blast with the women who came out tonight."
The evening began as registrants checked in and went station-to-station on the Munn Arena concourse, and were issued brand-new equipment to outfit them head-to-toe. Each participant gathered her jersey, helmet, shoulder pads, elbow pads, shin guards, pants, socks, and skates. Their gear bags went into oversized hampers, and taken down to the Spartan locker room and set up in each individual's locker, as the MSU players would find it on a practice day.
While the equipment staff set up the dressing room, the participants were welcomed in the Munn Club with a bit of a "classroom session", in which assistant coach Tom Newton showed the group some of the basics of the game, and what to look for as a fan. Adam Nightingale, the Director of Operations, explained the role of video in game preparation and player development.
The women were then given a tour of Munn Ice Arena by assistant coach Kelly Miller - similar to the tour he provides to recruits and their families who visit the MSU campus. After seeing the offices, training room, and weightroom, the women took their spots in the Spartan locker room. The staff and players first taught the group how to tape their sticks, then how to get all of their equipment on. Despite the cramped quarters - a 27-man locker room had more than 60 people in it for the clinic - the women all got themselves assembled into their equipment and headed to the Munn Arena ice.
The on-ice session was the most eagerly anticipated session of the night, and in the post-clinic analysis, the most fun for all the participants. Each woman had an individual shot taken with head coach Tom Anastos, and worked on passing and shooting skills. While there was a varied array of existing skills within the group, there were plenty of smiles from everyone. Whether learning how to skate with Dean and Jake Chelios, working on shooting skills with Anthony Hayes, Chris Forfar, and Greg Wolfe, or taking their turn on going over the boards for their shift from the bench, the laughter and camaraderie was on display.
After changing out of their equipment and heading back to the Munn Club for refreshments, the coaching staff and their families took part in a Q&A session. The participants stayed more than an hour after the scheduled end of the clinic to get questions answered.