I few weeks ago during the preliminary round of the World Junior Championship tournament in Buffalo, I had a good chat with Bob Motzko, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team and St. Cloud State.
We got on what has become one of Motzko’s favorite subjects, Joey Anderson, and the coach had this quip for me:
“Sad news is I have finally talked Joey into transferring, so Joey is coming to St. Cloud,” Motzko said.
I laughed, and responded:
“The only way I’m believing that is if you told me his younger brother Mikey was coming with him.”
Motzko knew I had him.
“I got to work on Mikey now,” he said.
No worries Bulldogs fans, Bob Motzko is not really trying to poach the Anderson brothers from Minnesota Duluth. They’re only a part of his fantasy college team in dream land. Both are players Motzko has high regard for, especially Joey. That’s why the elder Anderson brother was named USA’s captain for this year’s World Juniors.
“Joey is a great captain. He’s a Messier-type,” Motzko said. “Just play hockey like how you play the game. Your best leader just playing hockey the right way.”
Assuming Joey doesn’t leave for the NHL after this season (and I don’t think he will after just one season of playing with Mikey at UMD), he’ll be wearing a letter next season for the Bulldogs an eventually even the ‘C’ if he sticks around for his senior season. That’s because Joey is held in pretty high regard as UMD as well.
“His day-to-day routine, the details, his work habits, I wasn’t surprised that he was going to be one of their captains,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. “It’s awesome that he is the captain. … He’s very consistent in the day-to-day work habits, details to his game, the way he plays, the versatility, all those things.”
“He naturally has that leadership built in him,” said Riley Tufte, Joey’s teammate at UMD and on the USNJT. “He’s born to be a leader. His work ethic is awesome. He’s always doing the right things whether it’s offense, defense and on and off the ice.”
All of this praise has me wondering, with just two players now wearing letters at UMD, why not name Joey Anderson an alternate captain for the second half of this season? Just a thought.
For more on the Anderson brothers’ relationship as Bulldogs/World Juniors teammates, plus men’s and women’s weekend previews, make sure to check out this week’s edition of Bulldog Insider, the News Tribune’s free weekly email newsletter.