Thomas Ebbing and Mackenzie MacEachern have been friends for years.
Both hail from Troy, Mich., and played hockey at Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. as well as the? Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League.
This season, the freshman forwards have returned to the ice as a duo, this time for the MSU hockey team.
“I joke all the time because we were recruiting Mackenzie MacEachern, and he was a darned good player,” head coach Tom Anastos said. “Every time I go to watch him, ?Thomas Ebbing always played better. I don’t think I’ve told those guys yet but that’s how it developed later where we actually had Mac committed and then eventually Thomas evolved at a later time.”
Ebbing originally was? committed to play at Bowling Green, but decided he would look better in green and white than brown and orange.
He said even though the scouts were there to see his friend, it was always in the back of his head that he could make an impression.
“When I saw he committed there, it was great, and I was happy for him,” Ebbing said. “I took a different route than him, being previously committed to a different school and then decommitting. Then later on getting talked to by Anastos and the other coaching staff. It’s a dream for me, so it was an easy decision.”
Ebbing scored 16 goals and had 11 assists in 60 games in Chicago, while MacEachern netted eight goals and 13 assists in 50 games for the Steel.
Anastos said both can contribute to the shoot first? mentality he’s been preaching to the Spartans this season.
“Thomas Ebbing is a playmaker,” Anastos said. “He’s got a bright future. When you look at Mackenzie MacEachern, a big strong guy for his age.
“He’s got a nice scoring touch, he’s got good hands, he can see the ice well (and) he can get up and down the ice. That’s a skill set we need on our team.”
In the first game of the season, a 4-1 exhibition win against Western Ontario, ?Ebbing and MacEachern were on the same line and contributed a combined total of five shots to the attack.
MacEachern said he and Ebbing are very close with the other freshmen, and he didn’t think it was going to be this tight of a bond.
“We’ve known each other for 19 years, and if we have a problem we can see it,” MacEachern said. “Not just outside the rink, but in the rink as well. We’re there for each other.”
Ebbing said after high school and junior hockey with MacEachern, it’s extraordinary to continue the tradition of sharing the ice together, and they hope to continue their?momentum from high school on the ice this season.
“It’s something special, and we have chemistry here,” Ebbing said.
“Michigan State saw that. We don’t want to rely on one another because we’re our own person, but at the same time it’s nice if you have a rough day to lean on somebody you know.”