A fantasic hire for MSU, but ...
By Art Regner
Tom Anastos is the complete package. Anybody whos's well-versed in the world of hockey knows that Anastos will elevate Michigan State back into college hockey's national spotlight. So rest well, Spartan fans, Mark Hollis hired the right man.
Anastos, 47, the commissioner of the CCHA for the past 13 years, has established himself as one of the sports crown jewels. A true visionary, Anastos has excelled as a player (MSU-1981-85), coach and administrator.
Under his leadership, the CCHA has adapted many rule changes that have enhanced the game. He's also not afraid to take a risk or two. The CCHA is the only conference that goes to a shootout to decide games if there's a tie after overtime.
In short: Tom Anastos gets it.
He'll have little trouble attracting top-tier talent to MSU because he has always been about what's best for the player. Potential recruits will quickly catch on that he's demanding, ultra-competitive and passionate. His teams will follow him to Hell and back.
That's why as terrific a move as this is for the Spartans, I'm not sure it's a great move for college hockey.
On Monday, it was announced that the Big Ten Hockey Conference will begin play with the 2013-14 season. It had long been speculated that the Big Ten would form their own hockey conference. Now that it has happened, college hockey is at a major crossroads.
This is not a few teams switching one conference for another. This is a premier conference of large schools with a national following that has their own television network. Big Ten hockey could blow all their competition out of the water.
Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Minnesota and Wisconsin leaving the CCHA and WCHA, respectively, in two years could be devastating. Some conferences out East may not feel the immediate effects of Big Ten hockey, but the CCHA and WCHA will.
Imagine college hockey at the Joe and the CCHA championship weekend without the Wolverines, Spartans or Buckeyes. Get your tickets early and often because there will be plenty.
Many may look at Anastos as bailing on the CCHA. The conference does face a murky, if not an uncertain, future. However, during his press conference, Anastos talked about getting back to his roots. That coaching at Michigan State is a calling he couldn't turn down.
Athletic director Hollis and MSU president Lou Anna K. Simon were beaming. They know that Anastos brings intangibles that set him above all the rest.
Sometimes you go with your heart. Sometimes your mind has the final say . And sometimes you go against what you want because the overall picture is more important than your individual need.
College hockey needs a leader, an individual who protects the interest of all Division 1 schools, an individual who inspires those around them for the betterment of the game, an individual that understands the game at every level.
Unfortunately, that individual is now the head coach at Michigan State.