Cole Dismayed By Late-Season Departure of D-Man Eliot
CHN Staff Report
Michigan State defenseman Mitch Eliot decided to leave the team earlier in the week to sign with Sarnia of the major junior OHL. The move came with just six games left in the regular season, which only added to Spartans' head coach Danton Cole's dismay.
"At this point of the season, it would've been nice if he wanted to leave to finish," Cole said. "If you want to leave early in the year, that's one thing, but six games to go and the Michigan weekend (coming up), it's an odd time.
"But we'll deal with it. We want the guys in the locker room who want to be in the locker room. If they don't want to be here, get the hell out of here. If that's where your head's at — it's hard enough winning when everyone's on the same page. So, you know what, our locker room is better."
Eliot was a top-four defenseman, having played 26 of the team's 28 games heading into the weekend. In their first game without him, the Spartans tied Michigan, 1-1, on Friday, and lost in the shootout.
“I have chosen to join the Sarnia Sting in hopes of pursuing my interests to play professional hockey one day while being able to combine that with continuing to work towards earning my college degree,” Eliot said in a statement. “The club is having an outstanding season and I am extremely excited to join them down the stretch and into the playoffs.”
Eliot — the son of Cornell graduate and one-time NHL goaltender Darren Eliot, who is now a hockey commentator — had two goals and three assists this season. As a freshman, the Grosse Point, Mich., native had three assists in 34 games.
Sarnia had selected Eliot in the 11th-round of the 2014 Ontario Hockey League draft.
“To be able to add a veteran defenceman who has been playing at such a high level is huge for our hockey club,” Sting general manager Nick Sinclair said. “We had always left the door open to Mitch and we are very happy that he and his family have chosen to join us to further Mitch’s development both on and off the ice."