It took a bit longer than expected, but the Michigan State Spartans have their new men’s hockey head coach. That name should be a familiar one to fans of the program, as former MSU player Danton Cole has been hired.
The news was broken by SpartanNation.com ($).
Cole comes to the Spartans after heading up the United State National Developmental Team this past season. He is also a former Stanley Cup winner in the NHL, hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup with the New Jersey Red Devils in 1995.
The Detroit Free Press reached out to Cole, but he did not respond to calls or texts regarding the report from Spartan Nation.
Early on in the process of replacing Tom Anastos as the head coach, Cole had emerged as a real possibility. His name was thrown around behind the scenes, but it took until after the just completed Frozen Four in Chicago this weekend to make this hire.
Michigan State has not officially announced the hire, but our sources have also been able to confirm that Cole has long been the front-runner for the job and has accepted an offer.
Not only is Cole a former Michigan State skater, he was part of the 1986 national championship squad and has extensive ties to the junior hockey game. Previous to his stint at the helm of the U.S. NTDP U-18 squad, he was also the coach for Grand Rapids in the IHL and Muskegon in the USHL.
Those ties to the younger side of the game and the professional ranks added in with his ties to the Spartans program made him a prime candidate for this job.
Former MSU assistant and long-time Denver head coach George Gwozdecky had also been considered a front-runner and it may be interesting to see if he will get involved in this staff in some capacity.
Since his ouster at Denver, Gwozdecky has been the coach of a prep team in Colorado. However, will he want to get back in the college game as an assistant at this point in his career?
Look for the Spartans to make the hire of Cole official sooner rather than later.