Danton Cole, an 18-year coaching veteran with international, professional and collegiate experience, is the new head coach of the Michigan State hockey program. Cole, who was a key member of some of the most successful Spartan hockey teams in program history, comes to Michigan State from USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program where he has mentored some of the nation’s top young players on the U-17 and U-18 teams for the past seven seasons.
Cole says it was great fun to get on the ice with his new team for the first time before they depart campus for the summer.
“Workouts are going to be really important, and how they come back will determine how we can play,” says Cole. “The discipline and self-belief and things they’re going to have to have for us to be really good – that’s going to be on them quite a bit. Coach Mason used to say ‘if you guys show up in shape, we can start working on stuff right away’ and for us moving forward, that’ll be really important.”
The trio discusses the importance of amenities to today’s student-athletes and potential rules changes for college hockey that are on the horizon. The sport is trying to get away from recruiting young kids in the eighth and ninth grades, and “on the ice, video seems to be the big issue.
“How much do we review? What do we review? Are we going to go to more and more reviews and slow the game down? I’d like to see fewer delays. We want to get the goals right, but there’s also something about how it can impact the flow of the game. I think it takes away from the game. There’s a human element to everything we have, and there’s something about the pace of the game that I really enjoy.”
The length of games is another issue being discussed. “Everybody is looking at ways to speed it up.”
Cole talks about what he has learned from his role with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program.
“It was really good for me. Regardless of how talented the players are, you have teach them, and I learned a lot about how kids today learn and how you build a team.”
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