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MSU officials, Hastings ready to put hockey on the map
MSU hockey coach Mike Hastings is confident in the university's and community's renewed commitment to hockey.
Shane Frederick, Mankato Free Press, 4-17-12
When Mike Hastings was in discussions to be the new men’s hockey coach at Minnesota State, he told officials that he was going to come in with a list of needs. “ There are certain things that you have to have,” Hastings said during his introductory press conference on Monday morning at the Verizon Wireless Center.
Hastings, sporting a bright, new purple-andgold tie, didn’t roll out a lengthy laundry list of demands as he became the third coach in program history.
“I believe everybody’s after the same thing here,” he said.
However, he wasted little time addressing facilities, specificially the proposed upgrades to the arena, which are being considered in the state legislature’s borrowing bill this session.
“ We’re going to make sure we bat this thing out of the park with the bonding issue,” he said. “But it’s about answers, not about problems. If that doesn’t get done, then we have to find another way to get the facilities taken care of. And if we need to do that, we have to turn to the people in this area, and we will find a way.”
Hastings said he’s confident in the university’s and community’s renewed commitment to hockey, going into the final season of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in its current makeup and into the league’s new era following the conference shakeup that’s coming a year from now.
“There’s a responsibility to myself, our staff, our team and everybody that’s around us that we’re going to be provided the things we need to be successful,” Hastings said.
Athletic director Kevin Buisman agreed, saying hockey is being elevated as a marquee program at Minnesota State.
“President (Richard) Davenport suggested that national prominece of the university and national prominence of the hockey program go hand in hand,” Buisman said. “If there were questions about how important hockey is to Mankato, I think today we answered those.”
Besides facilities, Hastings also talked about additional support for assistant coaches that would allow them to concentrate on recruiting and developing current players. That includes having staffing in place for academic advising, training, equipment and hockey operations.
Hastings said he will sit down with both assistant coaches, associate head coach Darren Blue and Todd Knott, over the next week to discuss their futures. Blue is under contract through next season; Knott’s deal expries on June 30.
Hastings accepted a fouryear contract that will pay him $225,000 per year with a portion of that funded privately, possibly through the MSU Blue Line Club or other sources, said Rick Straka, the university’s vice president for finance and administartion.
Davenport said the job was offered to Hastings, and the now-former Nebraska Omaha associate head coach accepted after the interview process Friday. The university announced the hiring on Saturday evening, just 13 days after former coach Troy Jutting was reassigned to administrative role.
Hastings said it didn’t take long to know he wanted the job, and he and his family — he’s married and has a 13-year- old daughter and 10-year- old son — are looking forward to becoming part of the Mankato community.
To see the entire story, go to www.mankatofreepress.com.