During his 10-year tenure as CCHA Commissioner, Tom Anastos has compiled an extensive resume and helped the league and NCAA hockey grow in many ways.
As president of the Hockey Commissioners Association, he spearheaded a symposium between the six Division I college hockey commissioners and the 30 NHL general managers. Anastos was also instrumental in forming www.playcollegehockey.com
, a Web site dedicated to showcasing the college game to potential student-athletes in North America and around the world; creating "Hockey Day In Michigan," an annual celebration of the state's heritage similar to CBC's "Hockey Day In Canada." That helped the CCHA become the first conference to sign a TV deal with CBS College Sports (formerly CSTV) and Leafs TV, and he helped bring the 2009 Midwest Regional to Grand Rapids, Mich., as well as the 2010 Frozen Four to Ford Field in Detroit.
Anastos' resume extends even further, but he may be remembered most for one of his boldest and most creative moves, bringing the shootout to NCAA Division I hockey this season. Despite the clamoring against the move by many around the college-hockey world, the ever-progressive Anastos and the CCHA became the first college hockey league to adopt a three-player shootout to settle ties in regular-season games.
"There were definitely those who felt very strongly against the idea, but there were also those who very much for it, so there was really no grey area here," Anastos told NHL.com. "But when it came down to it, we looked at the reception it has received at other levels, specifically the NHL and we decided to go forward with it.
"I've spoken to Paul Kelly
before and he said that 'unanimously the players love it.' The NCAA also did exclusive polling amongst players and almost all of them were in favor of the shootout."
Anastos still understands the opposition, but based on the polling and research, and based on the fact the NHL uses the shootout, it not only serves as good entertainment, but using the shootout also serves as solid practice for the next level.
"We just believed that they are doing it in a league that most of these players here strive to play in and it's good practice and training," he said. "I completely understand that other coaches and commissioners are opposed to it, because they believe it promotes individual skills as opposed to the team concept and that a game shouldn't be settled that way."
Another reason behind Anastos' thinking with the shootout was a phenomenon that worries him and many hockey fans, players settling for a tie.
"This whole mindset of settling for a tie troubles me and I know fans didn't like that trend either," Anastos said. "I mean how can you have a 'good tie' or a 'good road tie'? You play to win the game right? Ties take that away, they take away the plot and climax. So the shootout just seemed like the natural next step to break ties or stop this trend."
Anastos also pointed out that in the CCHA shootouts, teams only receive points for making the shootout, not just overtime. The shootout winner receives the extra point.
"This way, a team can't settle for losing in OT either and get that 'good road point,' " he said.
So far there have been seven shootouts in 36 CCHA games this season, and according to Anastos, the response from players and fans has been one of approval and enthusiasm.
"So far the reports from fans and players have been very enthusiastic and we're very happy we went through with this," he said. "Of course there's still opposition to the shootout and that's to be expected, but I thank those who oppose it for at least keeping a close eye on the process and monitoring the reactions.
"We're very excited about the shootout and we're glad we gave it a try. You never know until you try."
Finding new homes
-- On Campus recently did a feature on the struggling CHA and how their teams are currently searching for a new home. Well, according to Mike Chambers of the Denver Post, the remaining four CHA teams may have done that. In a recent blog, Chambers wrote:
"Because of the looming demise of College Hockey America, don't be surprised if the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and the Atlantic Hockey Association go from 10 to 12 teams, with Bemidji State and Nebraska-Omaha joining the WCHA and Robert Morris and Niagara going to the AHA."
According to Chambers, Robert Morris and Niagara have applied for entrance to the AHA. If they are accepted, the AHA will go from 10 to 12 teams. Chambers goes on to write:
"What we need next -- and this is the big one -- is for Nebraska-Omaha to apply to the WCHA, and get accepted along with Bemidji State, which previously applied and is a terrific fit. UNO, which currently plays in the CCHA, will be replaced by Alabama-Huntsville."
On Campus clips
-- The Hockey East Association announced the first honoree in the league's 25th anniversary celebration. Providence's Chris Terreri
has been named Hockey East's Top Goalie in a vote comprised of Hockey East fans and members of the league's 25th Anniversary Committee. "This is such an appropriate way to launch our list of 25th anniversary honorees," said Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna. "Chris played at a time when offense was up in college hockey and media coverage was not what it is today. Yet the impact of his career, and especially his postseason performances, still resonates with so many who watched him play." Terreri was named the first Player of the Year in Hockey East history for the 1984-85 season, after leading the league in both goals-against average (3.49) and save percentage (.905). Terreri still holds the Hockey East record for most saves in a season with the 1,078 amassed during that 1984-85 campaign. "Twenty-five years later, I look back and can honestly say that was the greatest display of goaltending I have seen," said former Hockey East commissioner and current New Jersey Devils
GM Lou Lamoriello, who, as coach at Providence, recruited Terreri out of Pilgrim High School in Warwick, R.I. His performance in the inaugural Hockey East Tournament insured his place in league history as Terreri back-stopped the Friars to the first league championship in 1985 with a 65-save performance in the Friars' 2-1 double-overtime victory against Boston College in the title game. Terreri set NCAA records while leading the team to the NCAA Frozen Four Championship game before falling to Rensselaer, 2-1, in the national final. He was named Most Valuable Player in both the Hockey East and NCAA tournaments. ... Staying in the Hockey East, Boston College lost the rematch of the 2008 NCAA Championship game to Notre Dame 4-1 at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Fighting Irish senior goaltender Jordan Pearce
made 27 saves in the victory for Notre Dame, who also beat Providence by the same score the following night.