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Sunday, October 26, 2014


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Moving from press box to bench with team




mug_smith_zach
 

Smith



Welp, I’m 0-1 as a coach.

At the MSU hockey Green and White game, head coach Tom Anastos asked yours truly and other members of the Lansing-area media to put down their notebooks and pick up a whistle.

It didn’t go well for my White squad, as we lost 2-0 in regulation and then even lost the shootout after redshirt freshman Rhett Holland beat senior goalie Will Yanakeff for the win.

WLNS sports anchor and honorary White Team head coach Fred Heumann motivated the players and assistant coaches alike, and his Bear Bryant-esque fedora added a touch of class to our locker room.

I’m used to the press box, but it was a whole different world behind the bench.

The game moved faster than a six-year-old after too much sugar, even though all the players were complaining that the ice was slow because of high humidity.

In between dodging flying pucks and getting drenched with Gatorade, my primary job on the bench was running a stopwatch and making sure shift times were around the 40 second mark.

For two periods, I was up in the press box where I spend most of the time during games with Director of Hockey Operations Adam Nightingale.

His job is to log shift times, mark shots and chances, and keep track of who wins the faceoff in what zone against what opponent.

That was harder than being on the bench and in the locker room ever was. There’s nobody to yell out who’s on the ice, and faceoffs go so fast it’s hard to wrap your mind around what’s going on.

But it was a nice view from high above the ice. Plus, there wasn’t a chance I would get hit in the head with a speeding puck and lose a couple teeth.

From an analysis point of view, the team looked good. They’re young, but the experience gained from last season was palpable in the locker room and on the ice.

Freshman forward Villiam Haag, from Sweden, was the standout of the freshman class, while sophomore forward Michael Ferrantino led the White squad with three shots and was 11-8 in the faceoff circle.

Thanks to the MSU Hockey program and my fellow coaches on both sides of the ice for making it a truly unforgettable experience, even though I was on the losing end of the stick.

If it makes you feel better, there were 2,007 people at the Green and White game, and the last time the MSU hockey team won the National Championship was in 2007.

Coincidence? I think not.


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