In the midst of an improvement year under the first season of head coach Danton Cole, some drama has crept into the Michigan State Hockey locker room.
Former Spartan Defenseman Mitch Eliot left the MSU Hockey team earlier in the week and signed with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. His departure came as a surprise to both his coach and teammates.
“Not really, no,” said Michigan State coach Danton Cole in regards of seeing Eliot’s departure coming following his team’s 2-1 defeat Friday night to Michigan. “It’s surprising and lets the guys on the team down but you get stronger from things like this.”
PLAYER ALERT! | Sting Add Experience on the Back End as Defenceman Mitch Eliot Commits to Sarnia!
— Sarnia Sting (@StingHockey) February 9, 2018
“I have chosen to join the Sarnia Sting in hopes of pursuing my interests to play professional hockey one day while being able to combine that with continuing to work towards earning my college degree,” Eliot said when signing with the Sting. “The club is having an outstanding season and I am extremely excited to join them down the stretch and into the playoffs.”
“It is odd,” said Cole. “Especially for a guy that has played every game for two years.”
In his two years as part of the Spartan Hockey team, Eliot finished with eight career points with two goals, both coming this season, in 61 career games.
“Mitch was a nice young man and we wish him well and all that but you know the timing of all of it you can’t say that it’s not disruptive,” Cole said. “We had different defensive pairs all over out there tonight and we have had a pretty good rhythm going. At this point in the season it would have been nice, even if he wanted to leave, to finish. If you want to leave early in the year, that is one thing but with six games to go, during a Michigan weekend with playoffs coming up, it is an odd time. We will deal with it. We want guys in the locker room who want to be in the locker room. If you don’t want to be here, then get the hell out of here. It is hard enough winning when everyone is on the same page. You know what, our locker room is better.”
Michigan State will finish their weekend series with the Wolverines down in Detroit at Little Caesars Arena tomorrow night when the two teams battle in the Duel for the Iron “D” Trophy.