04/03/2014 11:45 AM
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Grand Rapids Griffins on Thursday announced that assistant coach Spiros Anastas has accepted the head coaching position at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta. He will remain with the Griffins through the conclusion of the team’s 2014 Calder Cup Playoff run.
Anastas, 28, is in his second season behind the Griffins’ bench, after serving as the team’s analytics and advanced scouting coach during its 2012-13 Calder Cup championship season. Head coach Jeff Blashill, assistant coach Jim Paek and Anastas currently have the Griffins positioned atop the Midwest Division with a 44-20-2-4 record (94 points), just one point behind the Western Conference-leading Texas Stars for the best record in the American Hockey League.
“I am excited for the next step in my career as I move on to being a head coach,” said Anastas. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that the Detroit Red Wings and Griffins organizations have given me over the last two seasons. The ability to take in a wealth of knowledge from the numerous coaches, scouts and managers within the system has expanded my horizons as a young coach.
“I owe many thanks to (Red Wings assistant general manager) Ryan Martin, Jeff Blashill, Jim Paek and all the players who have passed through here over the last two seasons. The Calder Cup run last season is something that I will never forget, and I look forward to going at it again this year. I am so fortunate to have been part of such first-class organizations. I thank everyone on the Griffins’ staff and the city of Grand Rapids for making me part of their hockey family,” he added.
A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Anastas got his coaching start with Lebanon Valley College, where he played forward and served as captain from 2006-09 before transitioning to player/assistant coach in 2009-10 and an assistant coach in 2010-11. He then spent the 2011-12 season as an assistant/video coach for Western Michigan University, helping the Broncos to their second-ever CCHA championship.
Anastas also served as general manager of the British Columbia Hockey League’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs for a portion of the 2012-13 season before joining the Griffins in late October.
“I am extremely excited for Spiros as he accepts this position,” said Blashill. “The University of Lethbridge is getting a passionate, hard-working, intelligent coach who will do a great job. His players will be held to a high standard of excellence and be prepared to execute on and off the ice. I want to personally thank Spiros for his hard work and dedication to the Griffins over the last two seasons.”
The University of Lethbridge Pronghorns are members of the Canada West Universities Athletic Association and Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS). Current Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock led the Pronghorns to their lone Canada West title and University Cup during his only season with the program in 1993-94, while Detroit assistant coach Bill Peters served as head coach of the Pronghorns from 2002-05.
Canada West is consistently the most decorated of the four conferences in Canadian Interuniversity Sport, winning 96 CIS national titles over the last 10 seasons. Canada West is comprised of 17 schools from the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. The University of Lethbridge Pronghorns men’s hockey team competes in an eight-team league, competing for the right to represent the conference at the University Cup, the CIS championship.
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