Sam Anas thought he had laid out the perfect road map for his hockey career when he committed to Quinnipiac last year. The Landon senior, the 2010-11 All-Met Player of the Year, saw himself playing Division I college hockey next fall.
Then, the coaches at ECAC school in Hamden, Conn., hit him with an unusual question: Where are you going to play juniors next year?
“It was definitely a surprise,” Anas said, “but I started talking to some guys who’ve done it, and it settled in on me. I’m cool with it.”
On Monday, Anas learned where he will be playing next. He was selected in the second round (22nd overall) of the draft by the Youngstown (Ohio) Phantoms of the U.S. Hockey League, the country’s top junior hockey league. Anas said he plans to spend two years there before heading over to Quinnipiac, a move that – much to the surprise of him and his family – is quite common among elite American hockey players.
“This was news to us,” said Anas’ father, Peter. “Now, when you see your child has skills, that’s the road you have to take.”
Anas, who plays on the D.C. Capitals travel team, said he spoke with his coaches throughout the winter and realized this was the best route for his hockey future.
“I wanted to go to college with all my friends,” he said, “but after talking to my coaches I knew that playing juniors now would help me, and I would go into college older and stronger.”
Anas scored 46 goals during the high school season, as he led Landon to a 21-0-1 mark, and its first Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League title.
Anas wasn’t the only local player selected in the USHL draft; Glenelg senior defenseman Eric Sweetman, a second-team All-Met who also played with Anas on the Capitals, was also tabbed by Youngstown, going 78th overall in the sixth round.