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Spartans Sign Five More to Hockey Letters of Intent

Nine freshmen to join team in 2009-10

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State head coachRick Comley has announced the addition of five student-athletes who have signed National Letters of Intent to join the MSU hockey program for the fall of 2009. The spring signees include forwards Dean Chelios (Bloomfield, Mich.), Chris Forfar (Darien, Ill.), Anthony Hayes (Canton, Mich.), KevinWalrod (Westside, British Columbia) and defenseman Torey Krug (Livonia, Mich.). The freshman class for the fall of 2009 will number nine players, as the five who recently signed join the previously announced forwards Zach Golembiewski (St. Clair, Mich.) and Derek Grant (Abbotsford, British Columbia), and defensemen Matt Grassi (Burnaby, British Columbia) and Zack Josepher (Wantagh, NY).

“While it is a big class, we think we have addressed our needs,” noted the head coach. “We’ve brought in some size, we’ve brought in skill, we’ve brought in strength, and we’ve brought in some excellent skaters. I’m excited about these incoming players and I believe they will fit in well with the Michigan State program. We look forward to getting them on campus.”

Several of the incoming players are still alive in post-season action. Krug, the lone defenseman signee from the spring period, along with Golembiewski, are currently members of the Indiana Ice, and are in the USHL East Division finals against the Green Bay Gamblers, which features Hayes and Mike Merrifield, who will be returning to MSU as a sophomore in the fall of 2009. Krug is a bit of an undersized defenseman at 5-8, 170, but is a hard-working, intelligent player with a great understanding of the game. He was the Ice’s top-scoring defenseman in the regular season, and ranked third overall in points (47). He netted 10 goals and ranked second on the team with 37 assists. He potted four power-play and two shorthanded tallies, and 21 of his 47 points came on extra-man tallies. His teammate, Golembiewski, finished sixth in scoring (15-15-30) and contributed six power-play markers.Â


Hayes exploded offensively with 33 points this year for the Gamblers after a combined 22 in his first two seasons in Green Bay. He’s put up 15 goals and 18 assists and is a +23. Hayes is a strong two-way player who is strong on his feet. He can play both on the wing and as a center, and he is an elite-level skater. Merrifield, who returned to the USHL in December and will rejoin the Spartans this fall, appeared in 38 regular-season games in the second half and averaged nearly a point per game (18-16-34). He ranks second on the team with four shorthanded tallies, and has two game-winners to his credit.


Forfar and the Lincoln Stars are also still alive in the USHL. Forfar has spent the last two seasons in Lincoln, and posted an 11-27-38 line this season, good for fourth on the team. He recorded 15 points on the power play. Forfar is an intelligent, big, strong centerman with a great ability to win faceoffs and plays well at both the offensive and defensive goal line.Â

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Chelios played most of this past season for the Chicago Steel of the USHL after being traded from Cedar Rapids early in the season. The big winger was second in scoring for the steel with a 19-34-53 line in 49 games, ranking third in both goals and assists for the squad. He was a +5, posted 16 power play points (6g, 10a) and added four game-winners for the Steel. Chelios is offensively gifted, and can provide great support on the power play and in the offensive zone. His commitment to gaining strength over the summer will have him even more prepared to contribute once fall camp starts. Chelios also brings an impressive hockey pedigree, as he is the son of Chris Chelios, a 25-year NHL veteran currently in his 10th season with the defending Stanley Cup ChampionDetroit Red Wings.


Walrod rounds out the spring signees, and is one of four incoming freshmen from the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL). The winger is an ultra-competitive player and an elite skater, which has helped him to a 23-39-62 regular-seaosn scoring line for Cowichan Valley in 2008-09. He ranked second in goals, assists, scoring, power-play goals and game-winning tallies on the team, and ranked 15th in scoring and 19th in assists in the BCHL.  He is very strong on the puck and the coaches were impressed with both his speed and quickness.Â


The other three BCHL recruits – Grant, Grassi, and Josepher – all signed during the fall period.  Grant, a forward, recorded 60 points on 25 goals and 35 assists for the Langley Chiefs, which included nine special-teams tallies (6 PPG, 3 SHG). He ranked 17th overall in BCHL scoring. Grassi was the second-leading scorer among blueliners for Salmon Arm (9-33-42) with five power-play markers. Josepher, a Long Island native playing in Penticton, was his team’s top-scoring defenseman with 14 goals and 38 assists (52 points). He ranked second on his team in assists, third in power-play goals (7) and third in game-winners (4).Â


MSU will return 17 letterwinners for 2008-09. Â