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Kings defenseman prospect emerges for NCAA champion Minnesota Duluth

Anderson wins second straight national title to continue successful family sports pedigree

by Heather Engel / Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Michael Anderson has sports in his blood. 

The 19-year-old defenseman, who helped the University of Minnesota Duluth win its second straight NCAA championship with a 3-0 victory against the University of Massachusetts at KeyBank Center on Saturday, grew up surrounded by athletes.

His grandfather Tom, father Gerry, older sister Sami and older brother Joey Anderson -- a right wing with the New Jersey Devils -- all played or play hockey. His mother, Dana, is a former professional racquetball player and was the 1990 U.S. Racquetball Association national under-24 women's singles champion.

"It was a lot of fun, said Mikey, who was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round (No. 103) of the 2017 NHL Draft. "My mom might be the most athletic out of all of us. She didn't work growing up, so we spent a lot of time with her, whether it was going to the rink and skating or going to a gym and playing racquetball with her, hitting balls around. We were always moving. A lot of credit goes to her and the sacrifice that she made to just let us interact with sports and just be able to be active."

Anderson had three points (one goal, two assists) in the national championship game, capping a season when he had 27 points (six goals, 21 assists) in 40 regular-season games and was named to the all-tournament team. 

This after getting 23 points (five goals, 18 assists) in 39 games as a freshman in 2017-18. 

"He's one of our best defensemen, if not the best," junior defenseman and alternate captain Nick Wolff said. "He's such a great team guy, on and off the ice. This past year, on the ice, I think he just took the biggest step from last year to this year and from the beginning of the season to the end of the season. He's one of the biggest role models on this team, I think, on the ice and off the ice, and we couldn't be here without him."

Much of that stems from the days Anderson spent with his siblings out on the backyard rink his father built in their Twin Cities home. And each time they laced up their skates, it was by choice.

"My dad was my coach pretty much every year growing up [but] he never forced us to play hockey as kids," he said. "We were the ones that fell in love with the game. He never forced us to do anything extra, everything extra we wanted to do ourselves just to get better. A lot of our credit goes to him for just providing all the opportunities and the sacrifices he made for us to have success."

That success has helped Anderson becoming one of the Kings' top prospects while his brother played 34 games with the Devils in his first year as a professional.

"He has a purpose every time he comes to the rink," Minnesota Duluth coach Scott Sandelin said. "He wants to become a better player. He trains. He works on his game. He does all the things that you want every player to do on a regular basis.

"He enjoys coming to the rink. He enjoys playing the game. He enjoys working on his game to get better. I can't say enough. He's had an unbelievable year. He has got a great future ahead of him. Hopefully it's not soon."

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