Rhett Holland loves to hit people – on the ice, that is.  “Yeah, the biggest thing I bring to the  table is that I’m a pretty physical player,” the incoming Spartan hockey player  admits.  Pretty physical?  “Well, excessively physical.  Contact’s kinda everything I do.  It’s one of my favorite parts of the game.”

 

Even when the hits come his way.  “If you get hammered, it’s almost nice sometimes,” he says.  “You just take down his number and try to get him down next time.  I respect  that part of the game – it goes both ways.”

 

The six-foot-one, 210-pound defenseman from Alberta, Canada, knows he will need more than quality hits to be a force in college hockey.  “The  biggest thing for me is I want  to be mobile.  I don’t want to just be the big goon, the player who can’t skate and just has size.  It’s something I’ve worked on for years and will keep working on.”

 

He also plans to work on his offense.  “I’m really defensive  minded,” he says, “and I know I need to work a little bit better at being offensive minded – making plays and all that.”

It is his strengths, though, which have Coach Tom Anastos excited for him to put on the green and white.  The head coach looks forward to Holland helping his team establish a more physical presence on the blue line.  “My goal usually is not to score,” Holland agrees.  “I’m more of the guy they rely on to keep the puck out of the net.  I like to shut down their goal scorers and make them not want to play against me.”

And he is hoping that the loss of defensive leader and team captain Torey Krug to the NHL will open more room for him to make this impact from day one.  “Yes for sure; the amount of opportunity here is second to no other program.  I can come in and in the lineup right away, because they lost a lot of guys.  There are a lot of chances for all of us
freshmen.”

 

It was not just the possibility of playing right away which led Holland to East Lansing, though.  “Tom Anastos is just a great coach, and he seems like a really good guy to play for.  The program here is great – nothing else really compared to Michigan State.  It’s on a whole other level.  From students to fan support, everything is just exceptional.  “There was no other program I saw with these kinds of facilities and opportunities.  It’s mind blowing to see what it has to offer.”

 

He and the other new players have already been able to start taking advantage of the facilities, as they all moved on campus this summer to begin workouts and classes.  “It slowly  feels like home.  The food at Brody (cafeteria) is really good, too.  I know it might get old in a couple months, but right now it’s really great.  Everyone’s really nice, too, especially compared to most places.  “I haven’t explored much yet, though, so I have a lot of exploring to do to figure out where everything is.”

 

He also looks forward to experiencing Spartan football in a few weeks.  “I watch some football at home.  Canada has the CFL, but it’s nothing like here, so I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s all about.”

 

And come October, it will be his turn to show what he is all about.  “I guess it hasn’t really sunk in too much, but I couldn’t be more excited to put on that jersey and step on that  ice.  It’ll be an experience I’ll never forget.”



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