For five members of the Honeybaked 19U girls’ team, signing a piece of paper means that hockey will continue for the next four years.
Andie Anastos, Demi Crossman, Haley McLean, Kirsten Padalis and Lexie Shaw all signed their National Letters of Intent last week, committing to four different Division-1 college hockey programs across the country.
Anastos and McLean will join Boston College for the 2013-14 season, while Crossman will join Minnesota-Duluth, Padalis will join St. Lawerence, and Shaw will join North Dakota.
“It’s really exciting, and it’s also very weird to know that I’m going to be playing against them in college,” Crossman said. “It’s really great that we’re all committed. It’s a good feeling knowing that everyone is being successful [individually], while we’re being successful as a team.”
Making the decision of which college to attend is difficult enough, let alone having to decide which would suit you best both hockey-wise and academically. For Anastos, youngest daughter of Michigan State men’s hockey coach Tom Anastos, finding the right coaching staff was crucial – along with finding the right environment to spend four years in.
“When I went [to Boston College], I really liked the campus,” Anastos said. “It’s smaller, and I liked that, and obviously it was beautiful. I also loved the coaches, that’s one of the main reasons I picked there was because I really liked the coaches.”
For Anastos and McLean, leaving home for college will be a bit easier when they move into a dorm room – together.
“She’s one of my best friends, and we’re going to room together our freshman year,” McLean said. “It’s nice to know that I’m going to have someone just to be with me all the time that I can talk to if I need anything, and just already having a friend there is going to be great.”
Anastos added that having McLean with her next season will make home “feel a little bit closer.”
Padalis said she wanted to find something that felt the opposite of what she experienced when visiting her older brother at the University of Michigan.
“Well I was always looking for a small school,” Padalis said, “and it’s a tiny school – 2,300 students. The only D-1 sport there is hockey, the other sports are all D-3, and it’s a good academic school, so that was kind of important too. It’s not too far away from home, it’s only eight hours, so compared to the other ones – like 12 and 14 – it’s not too bad.”
Yet the girls realize that due to the nature of women’s hockey, academics come first. When McLean was asked about the most important aspect of her decision, she said she couldn’t just focus on hockey.
“I mean hockey was a big part of it, but, I can’t make a living off of hockey, obviously, because women’s hockey, they don’t have professionally,” said the BC commit. “The schooling, academically it’s one of the top. It’s not Ivy League but it’s pretty far up there.”
Shaw said it was a great feeling when the five girls signed their LOIs, to see how a group of girls all from Michigan can advance to the next level together.
“It’s actually really awesome,” the North Dakota-bound goaltender said. “I’m so proud of my teammates. It’s great because we’re not like a prep school or anything, where we bring people in from out of state and stuff, we’re all from Michigan, it’s really cool. We grew up together, and we worked hard together, so it’s nice.”