Spiros Anastas Prepares The Brampton Beast After Losses & During COVID-19

Anastas / Brampton Beast

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Spiros Anastas is the head coach of a Canadian team.

In a pandemic.

And the borders are still closed.

The second-year bench boss for the Brampton Beast is certainly aware of all of this, but with the ECHL’s unique “split-season schedule format” that has his team among those starting later in January, there remains optimism that things will go off without a hitch when the games are set to start being broadcasted on FloHockey.

“It’s a tough scenario, for sure, for everybody involved,” Anastas told FloHockey. “As a Canadian team, we have the additional challenge of the border closures. The decision-making at the government level goes by 30-day increments, so it’s not like we can have a vision in the future and look ahead and say, ‘OK, this is when it’s going to open,’ or looking at when you can set some target dates. Unfortunately for us, there are some deadlines within our league that we have to make decisions by with scheduling and planning. I’m a big proponent of controlling what I can control, but this has been frustrating at times. But in terms of optimism? We’re building a good team, and we’ve been really focused on that.”

That, in a pandemic year or otherwise, has been a challenge for Anastas, who led the Beast to a 34-25-3-0 record last season and was on pace for a postseason berth for the unexpected shutdown in early March. 

Anastas will need to fill some huge holes for this upcoming season, however. 

Last year’s leading scorer, David Vallorani (31-40—71), announced his retirement this off-season. If that wasn’t a big enough blow, long-time captain and the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, veteran defenseman Jordan Henry is hanging up the skates, as is David Pacan, who was third on the team last season with 54 points.

“We had six guys total retire,” Anastas said. “Within that group of six, there were two for sure that we knew were going to retire, a couple more that we anticipated that retirement was imminent, and then two that were major surprises in Vallorani and Pacan. They weren’t shocking, but in any regular year, they probably would have returned. Henry, that’s different than all of those guys. They’re all great members of our team, our culture and everything that we’re about . . . Jordan was so deeply tied into the fabric of our team the covenant of what we want to be. That’s not a person you can replace, but hopefully is a void you can fill with some other people that bring those qualities as well.”

To be sure, the Beast will look way different in this upcoming 2020-21 season, but they will also have a familiar face from years past making a return. Luke Pither, who spent parts of two years in Brampton before spending the last three seasons putting up big numbers in Europe, has signed on to return.

“It’s nice that he brings some familiarity and knowledge of the expectations of what it means to be a Brampton Beast,” Anastas said. 

“I think he’s going to bring a lot of different aspects than maybe he did last time around. He was earlier in his career last time around, and now he brings a veteran presence. He’s a family man now. He’s been around the block, been to Europe and played at some of the highest levels, so he can bring a lot of maturity and leadership to our room. 

“But, the really unique thing about a guy like Luke, is he comes in games that count towards veteran status and’s he at 259. So, he’s one short of actually being a veteran on paper (per ECHL roster rules). So, when you can add someone who’s a veteran and can bring that leadership, maturity and experience, but still have a spot open for a guy who’s a veteran on paper on your roster, guys like that are big. I’m really excited to have him. I have some familiarity coaching against him when he was in the American (Hockey) League and I was in Grand Rapids – we faced off against him a few times when he was with Charlotte, so we really think he’s going to bring a dynamic presence and some really good production on the ice.”


Mike Ashmore has 17 years of experience covering professional and college sports. You can follow him on all social media channels at @mashmore98.

Game 2 Of Minnesota State-Bemidji State Series Postponed

Minnesota State Athletics

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Monday’s scheduled Minnesota State-Bemidji State non-conference game has been postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests within the Minnesota State program. No make-up date for today’s contest has been announced.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

1-On-1 With Don Lucia After Alaska Anchorage Shutters Hockey Program

Alaska Anchorage

Hockey has always been part of the culture in the 48th state, whether it be in the hit film Mystery Alaska, its countless pickup games on all their frozen ponds and streams, or 40 years’ worth of varsity hockey on two NCAA campuses. Last week that number has shrunk to one, as Alaska Anchorage announced it had dropped its hockey program, ending a 41-year reign as a varsity sport. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Loh Of The Adirondack Thunder Prepares For The 'Upside-Down' Hockey Season

Alex Loh

A phone, a computer, a tireless work ethic and the ability to accept rejection are all Alex Loh, or any ECHL coach, needs to build a roster.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

The Mavericks & Beavers Are On A Superstar Goaltender Collision Course

McKay / Driscoll

Goaltending. 

It is by far the most important position in hockey. A star goalie carries significance comparable to an entire baseball pitching staff. The WCHA has two such aces: Minnesota State’s Dryden McKay and Zach Driscoll of Bemidji. McKay had the best statistics in college hockey last season, and he was a finalist for the Richter Award as well as a semifinalist for the Hobey Baker Award. Driscoll, a star in his own right, finished as a second-team All-WCHA selection behind McKay. McKay is this year’s projected WCHA player of the year; Driscoll finished fourth in the voting. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Pretenders, Contenders & Rear-Enders: The WCHA Squads Of Michigan

Mitens, Lake Superior State

Northern Michigan, Lake Superior State, and Ferris State have all enjoyed degrees of success this past decade: Ferris with three trips to the NCAAs (including a competitive NCAA title game in 2012); Northern Michigan with a return to 20-win seasons under Grant Potulny; and Lake Superior waking its echoes of dominance with a Great Lakes Invitational title and a 23-win season in 2019. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Scoring Threat Ross Olsson Plays 'In Your Face' For The Worcester Railers

Ross Olsson / Worcester Railers

Ross Olsson would seemingly be one of the last guys you’d expect to have a rather well-populated page on HockeyFights.com.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Atlantic Hockey Previews: AIC Loses Historic Group, Robert Morris Reloads

AIC Hockey

AIC has been crowned Atlantic Hockey regular season champions in each of the past two seasons and endured an incredible run into the second round of the NCAA tournament two years ago. This season, the Yellow Jackets look to replace players that have solidified their name in AIC history books. While there are large skates to fill, the Yellow Jackets return talent and depth from their 20-win season in 2019-20. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Atlantic Hockey Team Previews: Bentley, Canisius, & West Point's Depth

Army coach

For 2020-21, Army West Point and Bentley welcome back much of their scoring depth from last year. Both teams return several double-digit scorers and are poised for successful seasons this year. As West Point returns their starting goaltender from last season, Bentley searches for consistency between the pipes. Canisius returns several key scorers from last year, but look for new members to step up after losing three All-Conference team members. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

WCHA Round-Up: Alabama Huntsville's Victory, COVID Protocol & The NCAAs

Alabama Huntsville

The WCHA’s men’s media day on Wednesday was business as usual in the new world order of COVID-19, meaning that it was unlike any in the eight-year history of the league’s rebirth. It was two months delayed, took place via Zoom, and was bursting with short-term and long-term news headlines.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In