Johnny McInnis stood up to leave the press conference following Minnesota State’s 4-1 victory over Ferris State in the WCHA Final Five championship game on Saturday night at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich.
His hands clutched the heavy Broadmoor Trophy and he offered to leave it behind for coach Mike Hastings, who stayed back to answer a few more questions.
“You want it?” McInnis asked.
“No,” Hastings responded to the senior captain. “You take it. It’s yours.”
Moments earlier, McInnis nearly broke down as he talked about what the trophy meant to him and his team.
It was more than just a prize earned for last weekend and this season.
“When I got here it was pretty much a fantasy to lift this trophy someday, especially for where the direction the program was at that time,” McInnis said.
“Just goes to show the guys in the room how far we’ve come in the last four years, especially the last two years.”
It’s easy to see why McInnis wanted to hand the trophy off to Hastings. It was Hastings’ arrival two years ago that transformed Minnesota State into a consistent winner — and transformed McInnis into a special player.
In two seasons, Hastings already has 50 wins, including the Mavericks’ first WCHA playoff championship.
The Mavericks, who had made one NCAA tournament in their first 13 seasons in the conference, are set to make their second straight national-tournament appearance.
“I can’t say how thankful I am to the guy at the far left here (Hastings) for coming on board and turning this around,” McInnis said. “It’s been a blessing; he’s been a blessing to our community and we’re starting to get results we’ve wanted since we were little kids. It just goes to show what hard work can do.”