Tom Anastos & Spartan Hockey Look For Immediate Help with Transfer Defenseman Nickolas Gatt!


 One of the eleven new players hockey coach Tom Anastos welcomes this year is not new to the atmosphere in Munn Ice Arena.  Junior transfer Nickolas Gatt actually played at Michigan State two years ago while freshman at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. 

Having been a Spartan fan growing up, Gatt says he is happy about the move to a school with more of a hockey tradition.  “(In Alabama) there were some fans, but a lot of people down there don’t even know what hockey is,” he recalls. “The response I would get was always, ‘I didn’t even know they had hockey down here.’”

 He knows this team is likely to require a little more of him, however, and he is already embracing that. “I put on some weight recently and hopefully that'll help me out,” he says.  I need to use my body and size a little more this year.”

He feels confident, though, that he will fit into MSU’s current system under Anastos. “I’ve always liked playing offensively,” he says, “moving the puck out of the zone quickly and being able to follow up.  I think the coaching style here makes that part of the game, which I'm very excited about playing under.”

And that’s not the only reason he looks forward to playing for the second-year head coach. “He kind of brings a professional feel to it, the way he handles the team. It's more of a business feel, which is the way a lot of the pro teams are run from what I see.”

Business or not, Gatt says being a Spartan is a bit overwhelming. “It was something I as a young kid always looked up to, so it's kind of like a dream come true. I’m just letting it soak in, and as we progress in workouts it is starting to feel more real and like I'm a part of it.”

The defenseman looks forward to being coached by former NHL player and now MSU assistant coach Kelly Miller, as well as the rest of the experienced coaching staff Anastos has put together. “It'll be great to get some focused attention from (Miller),” Gatt says.  They’re all friendly and seem to have a plan, and as long as you stick to their plan it’ll be the best outcome you can get.”

He hopes to get help specifically on his positioning on the ice, claiming it is there which he needs the most improvement. “I could just make it easier on myself by being in a better position, because that'll just help me be able to better engage a defender or help out a teammate who gets beaten.”

 His passing, on the other hand, is what he considers his biggest strength. “I like to be the first guy to make the pass to get out of the breakout,” he says,
“because that's where your play is really going to start.”

For now, Gatt is focusing on getting used to the workouts as well as the bigger campus, which he says he already likes better than the small school at which he spent the past two years. And come October, he will be ready to play his second of what will become many games at Munn.  “Being on the right side this time will be great.”

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