Carter, Anson 1974–
Anson Carter 1974–
Professional hockey player
Anson Carter was born on June 6, 1974 in Toronto, Ontario and would go on to change the face of his sport by excelling in the National Hockey League (NHL). He grew up in the Scarborough section of Toronto as the middle child of three in the Carter family. His parents Horace and Val-ma emigrated from Barbados. He started playing hockey seriously at the age of eight—a rather late start for a kid growing up in Canada. By the time he reached high school many of his peers had drifted to other sports, but Carter stuck with hockey. He had decided to become a doctor and thought that hockey would be an excellent way for a Canadian kid to get into one of the top colleges in the United States. Carter followed his plan and received a scholarship to play hockey at Michigan State University (MSU) in 1992. Although he did enroll in the pre-med program, Carter’s plans soon changed when he began to excel at his sport.
Throughout his career at MSU he continued to improve. From the 1992-93 season to the 1995-96 season Carter made a name for himself in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA). Tom Newton, who was then-an assistant at MSU, told Joe LaPointe of the New York Times that Carter “was a businessman at the rink” who “worked hard and pushed himself, forced himself to get better.” He was twice named a CCHA First Team All-Star and made the second team once. In 1994-95 Carter was named Second Team All-American and was a finalist for college hockey’s top prize, the Hobey Baker Trophy. In 1992 the Colorado Avalanche—at that time the Quebec Nordiques—had drafted him in the tenth round of the NHL’s amateur draft. Carter knew coming out of college that he would have little chance of making it in a lineup that was packed with veteran stars so he asked Colorado to trade him. Carter told Terry Frei of the Denver Post about his situation: “They were one of the deeper organizations in terms of young talent. I’m pretty fortunate he (Colorado General Manager) made that trade. He could have buried me in their minor-league system, and I could have been there for a couple of years. I’m thankful he gave me a chance to move on to Washington, where I got a chance to play in the NHL.” On April 3,1996 Carter was traded to the Washington
At a Glance…
Born Anson Carter, June 6, 1974 in Toronto, Ontar io; son of Horace and Val ma Carter; Education: attended Michigan State University.
Career: Drafted by the Quebec Nordiques, 1992; starred at Michigan State University, 1992-96; traded to the Washington Capitals, 1996; traded to the Boston Bruins, 1997; second-line forward for the Bruins, 1997-.
Awards: Central Collegiate Hockey Association All-Star, 1993-95; second team All-American and finalist for the Hobey Baker Trophy, 1995.
Addresses: Residences— Boston, MA and Toronto, Canada; Mailing—do the Boston Bruins, One Fleet Center, Suite 250, Boston, MA 02114-1303.
Carter began the 1996-97 season in Portland, Maine playing for the Capitals’ American Hockey League (AHL) team, but he was not in the AHL for long. After 27 games Carter had totaled 38 points and was promoted to the Capitals. Once in Washington, Carter found it tough to break into the lineup. He also injured his thumb and missed an additional five games. After playing 19 games with the Capitals, Carter, known as a scorer throughout most of his career in hockey, had only made three goals. But two of those goals came on February 24 against the Boston Bruins, a team that must have been impressed with his efforts. On March 1, 1997 Carter was in a restaurant when he heard on the television that he had been traded as part of a six-player deal to the Bruins. The little-known rookie was thought to be a throw-in on the part of Washington, but Bruins’ scout Gerry Cheevers knew differently. He told Sports Illustrated’s Kostya Kennedy about seeing Carter play in Portland: “He skated stronger than anyone else, and every time he was in a collision, he came out on top. We had a few players we needed to get from Washington to give up the players we gave up. Anson was at the top of our list.” Carter played 19 games for the Bruins and finished off his tumultuous rookie season scoring eight goals and tallying five assists for his new club. He went into the 1997-98 season finally comfortable with a team where he would be given a chance to play. Carter played in 78 games in his sophomore season and tallied 43 points. More importantly the young hockey player had found a home. He told LaPointe of the New York Times about his adjustment to Boston: “I came in with an open frame of mind, just like I did when I went to school… The people here in Boston, they couldn’t have treated me better then I’ve been treated so far. I’ve been treated with a lot of respect and class.”
He was starting to attract attention around the league as one of the top young prospects in hockey, and he knew it. The following season he refused to sign a contract with the Bruins. Instead of signing what he thought to be a less-than-adequate deal, Carter started the season with Utah of the International Hockey League. After missing the first 12 games of the 1998-99 season, Carter signed a two-year $1.5 million contract. Despite missing the first part of the season and then 15 games with an ankle injury, Carter quickly gave the team its money’s worth. He recorded 40 points including 24 goals in 55 games. He finished second on the team with six game-winning goals and was instrumental in the Bruins drive through the playoffs. Carter scored three goals in six games of the playoffs including a game-winner over the Carolina Hurricanes in double-overtime. Boston’s Hall-of-Fame defenseman and captain Ray Bourque spoke to Kennedy of Sports Illustrated about Carter’s overall game: “The bigger the game, the better he plays. He’s got the whole package: speed, strength, moves and vision. He can be scary. And because he lives right and prepares himself, he’s going to get better.” Carter came off his breakthrough playoff performance with another great start to the 1999-2000 season. In just 38 games, Carter totaled 30 points to become a leader on the Bruins’ young team. He leads off the ice and in the community also. Carter is active around Boston and has even created a program called “Carter’s Corner.” He buys six tickets and the club buys six more for each Bruins home game and distributes them to youth groups around the Boston area.
The man who was traded twice before his rookie season seems to have found a home in Boston, which has in the past had a reputation for being a difficult place to play for black athletes. Carter told Frei of the Denver Post that the swap with the Capitals that brought him to Bean Town has worked out just fine: “Whenever you’re involved in a trade of that magnitude, you know you’re getting a chance to play. You don’t want to let the G.M. down after you’re traded like that. A lot of fans were upset here… But I’d like to think the fans are happy with the trade now.”
The Denver Post, April 3, 1999.
The New York Times, May 11, 1999.
Sports Illustrated, October 4, 1999.
—Michael J. Watkins
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