Hastings said Lehrke stayed in Mankato over the summer and was fully committed to Minnesota State's offseason program, often arriving at workouts before the rest of the team. The coach agreed that he was in great shape for his final season.
"What these guys do on a daily basis is extremely demanding," Hastings said. "Put it this way: I'm a big Zach Lehrke fan. I respect him as a human being, and I respect him as a hockey player."
Lehrke played in every game last season and missed just three games as a sophomore. However, there were nights when he was unable to finish due to the cramping.
"It can be all over my body, head to toe," Lehrke said. "It can be pretty painful. There have been mornings when it's tough to get up. Pretty much every day I wasn't able to skate, I was struggling with it."
The Park Rapids native said his brother, Tyler, who played at Bemidji State, also suffers from the condition. In a press release issued by the university Monday evening, he thanked MSU's coaches athletic trainers and medical staffs for the work they did helping him work through his condition.
Preseason practices for the Mavericks are underway this week, and Saturday marks the official start of the season. Minnesota State will play an exhibition game at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Verizon Wireless Center.