Boston College teammates Megan Keller, a defenseman from Farmington, and Andie Anastos, a forward from Farmington Hills and daughter of Michigan State hockey coach Tom Anastos, are among six from Michigan taking part in the USA Hockey Women’s National Festival through Saturday at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Players from the festival will be selected for two 22-player rosters for a series of games against Canada on Aug. 19-23 in Lake Placid. Keller’s brother, Ryan, plays for Michigan State. The U.S. entries will feature the Under-18 and Under-22 select teams. Detroit Free Press sports writer George Sipple spoke to Keller about the festival, her friendship with Anastos and her hockey goals for the future.
On being selected for the festival: “It’s an amazing opportunity. Any time you get to go out and compete against the best girls in the country, get an opportunity to play with the most elite women in this country, it’s always fun. I love to compete out there.”
On beating Canada to win the 2015 IIHF World Championship in Malmo, Sweden: “The Canada-U.S. rivalry, that’s probably the biggest rivalry in the women’s sport. That’s the highest level, international play.”
On being picked for that team: “If you would have asked me that a year ago, I probably wouldn’t have thought I would have been there. To get that, the opportunity to make that jump and go to the women’s national team, that was awesome. It definitely made me more confident. It was easier to adjust with all those older girls there to look up to.”
On competition to represent the U.S.: “My goal is to go there and keep making these teams, all the way up to the Olympics. But there’s always younger girls, other girls, coming in wanting to take your spot. Just like I want to take somebody else’s spot. It’s always very competitive. I think that’s what makes it such a great atmosphere out there. We’re all so competitive and we want to get to the highest point so bad.”
On when she first thought about playing in the Olympics: “I remember watching Angelo Ruggiero in the Olympics and she was always one of my idols. Probably then I started to think about it and dream about getting there one day. As I got more serious about it, when I started to make these national camp teams, I realized I can do this.”
On how the Michigan hockey community helped her development: “I started playing because my brother was playing. There’s so much hockey around Michigan. Everybody’s playing. I played for Honeybaked for Coach Tom (Anastos) and I played with Andie growing up. We had the opportunity to go to nationals every year and compete with some of the best girls in the nation, so it definitely helped me become a better player.”
On her friendship with Andie Anastos: “We met in basketball. Then we ended up playing hockey together. We played AAU basketball and grade school basketball together, and then we ended up playing Honeybaked (hockey) together. I’ve known her since 8 or 9.
“She committed first and then BC was always a place that I had in mind, too. Once she was going there, too, it ended up that way. I’m glad it did. I get to play college hockey with my best friend.”