Hockey in the Bloodlines for UMD Recruit Anderson
Hockey is more than just a game for Waterloo Black Hawks defenseman Mikey Anderson.
It’s a bond that brings together a family. His grandfather and father played college hockey and his sister plays college hockey. And, in the fall he’ll join his older brother, Joey, at Minnesota-Duluth.
“It’s meant a lot to us. My whole family has been involved in hockey. Going out in backdoor rinks adds a whole different meaning to hockey for us,” Anderson said.
Anderson will have a chance to step in and contribute immediately for UMD’s blue line that was decimated by graduation and early departures. He’s looking forward to joining one of college hockey’s premier programs with the opportunity to reunite with his brother.
“We’ve been apart, but we’re both excited to get back together,” said Anderson. “They’ve been really successful. It’ll be a big task to stay at the top, but they’re getting a lot of good recruits.”
All the practice and love of the game has paid off for Anderson, who has earned his spot as one of the best defenders in the USHL. The All-USHL Second Teamer is a big reason why his team is onto the Clark Cup Western Conference Finals against the Sioux City Musketeers.
“Everyone is excited and ready to play. We’ve had good games with Sioux City all year,” Anderson said.
Waterloo hasn’t won a Clark Cup since 2004, but his coach, veteran USHL bench boss P.K. O’Handley, believes this team has a chance to change that.
“Our coach has told us he thinks we’re a good team. We try to stick to our game plan and stick to do what we can do,” Anderson said.
In addition to being one of UMD’s star recruits, Anderson will hear his name called at the 2017 NHL Draft. He’s ranked 51st by NHL Central Scouting among North American skaters, meaning he’ll likely be picked in the third round.
Despite his impressive offensive numbers, the 5-foot-11 Anderson sees himself as a shutdown defender who can play against other teams’ best forwards.
“I like to play physical. I try to create offense by shutting down other teams,” he said.
Anderson, whose brother Joey was selected by the New Jersey Devils in the third round last summer, will know a little bit more of what to expect than some of his peers come the last weekend in June.
“It’s going to be an exciting time, but I try not to think about it too much. I’m just going to take it day-by-day,” said Anderson.
The Roseville, Minn., resident tries to watch several different NHL defensemen in order to improve his own game, but pays particular attention to a fellow Minnesotan.
“I like watching Ryan McDonough. I try to watch different guys and pick up things and then put it into my game,” Anderson said.
Anderson left his high school team to play his junior and senior years in the USHL, which he believes will pay off because the transition to college won’t be as great.
“The amount of practice we get,” said Anderson, on why the time in the USHL is beneficial. “You’re going up against great players each day in practice and then over the weekends in games. Playing against the best, it’s fun.”
One of those players he’s had the chance to go up against in practice is BU recruit and potential first round pick Shane Bowers.
“It makes you better. He’s a really good player. He really pushes you to stop him. You try to learn from him and figure out different ways to defend,” Anderson said.
Playing for O’Handley, he’s learned that you can never be too detailed, despite what he might have thought before heading to Waterloo.
“Attention to detail and treating everyday like a pro,” Anderson said of what he’s learned from his coach. “He’s big into details. Coming in, I was detailed, but didn’t realize how undetailed I was. He treats players like pros and wants us to get better.”
Come October, there will be another Anderson ready to leave his mark at UMD.