University of Lethbridge Pronghorns Athletics has named Spiros Anastas as the new head coach of the men’s hockey program, the eighth in team history.
“It’s an exciting time for Pronghorns men’s hockey, it’s hard not to get excited by the enthusiasm and vision of excellence Spiros brings to the program,” says Executive Director of Sports and Recreation, Sandy Slavin. “He’ll be building on the strengths of the program and taking advantage of the opportunities that are out there. He is a highly motivated individual who brings a strong coaching skill set to our program and is coming from an organization that prides itself on developing a winning program; he’s looking forward to bringing that attitude to the Pronghorns.”
Anastas, originally from Toronto, Ont., is presently an assistant coach with the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins, the top affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings. Currently in his second season behind the Griffins bench, Anastas started with the Griffins as the team’s analytics and advanced scouting coach and helped the Griffins to the Western Conference and Calder Cup Championship in 2013.
“I am honoured to be joining the University of Lethbridge hockey team, and look forward to starting my career as a head coach,” says Anastas. “Through the first five years of my career I have been fortunate to work under some great men like Andy Murray and Jeff Blashill. Furthermore, the accessibility of Mike Babcock and his staff in Detroit has been beneficial to my development."
Babcock, of course, is the program's most noted former head coach. He led the Pronghorns to their lone Canada West title and University Cup national championship during his only season with the program in 1993-94. He has since gone on to win a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings and has led the Canadian men's team to two Olympic gold medals.
Meanwhile, current Red Wings assistant coach Bill Peters was also the head coach of the Pronghorns men’s hockey program from 2002 to 2005. Peters went on to win a Memorial Cup with the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League and is in his third season in Detroit.
Anastas has had the opportunity to work closely with the Red Wings during his time in Grand Rapids, serving as an assistant coach during the Red Wings development camps and NHL Prospects tournament.
Prior to joining the Griffins, Anastas served as the general manager of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League (BCJHL).
A former player with Lebanon Valley College, NCAA division III, Anastas began his coaching career with his alma mater, serving as an assistant coach during the 2010-11 season, before moving on to the University of Western Michigan. While there, he served as an assistant coach and video coordinator, working under former NHL head coach Andy Murray. During his only season with the Broncos, Anastas helped the team win only its second CCHA Championship in the program’s history and earn a NCAA tournament berth.
“I am excited to put all I have learned to work with the Pronghorns hockey team," he says. "The level of competition in the CIS, and especially Canada West, is high and we definitely have a challenge ahead of us. Getting the wheels in motion right away is a priority and I am confident in the support I'll receive from both the school and the Horns alumni as we rebuild this program.”
Anastas will fulfill his duties with the Griffins this season, remaining with the team until the completion of the American Hockey League regular season and playoffs. The Griffins sit atop the Midwest Division with 94 points.
“This is an exciting time for Pronghorns hockey as we look to the future," adds Anastas. "My fiancée, Lindsay, and I look forward to joining and being heavily involved in the Lethbridge community. I thank Sandy Slavin and the committee members for entrusting me with this program and the hard work they put forth throughout the entire process."
University of Lethbridge men’s hockey coaches
Dave McDowall (1984-1989)
Dave Adolph (1989-1993)
Mike Babcock (1993-94) – University Cup Champions
Ron Kraft (1994-97)
Dean Holden (1997-98)
Doug Irwin (1998-2002)
Bill Peters (2002-2005)
Greg Gatto (2005-2014)
Spiros Anastas (2014-present)