The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

March 28, 2013

MSU hockey team found new coach to be a font of wisdom

(Continued)

MANKATO —

The Mavericks went on to win their next seven games in a row and 11 of their next 12. At season’s end, they were in a tie for fourth place in the WCHA. They had hosted and won a first-round playoff series and made it to the Final Five for the first time since 2003.

No crystal ball

Minnesota State hired Hastings on April 16, a little more than 50 weeks ago. He was charged with the task of not only transforming a team but the changing the culture of a program.

“It doesn’t seem like a year,” Hastings said. “It seems like about eight weeks.”

What were the odds he’d do that in less than a calendar year?

“Nobody knows,” he said in his office this week. “I’m still waiting for that crystal ball to be delivered to the front of my house. I’d be a lot wealthier and a lot smarter. I just take every day as they come.”

Hastings might not have been able to foresee the future, but he was going to run things his way. He actually went to work before he was officially hired.

While meeting with players in Myers Field House on his interview day, he had them ready to play for him.

“We were excited to get to work right away; we were ready to buy in to whatever he had for us,” junior forward Johnny McInnis said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but it was going to be worth it.”

Hastings got the job the next day.

A different style

Hayes said he knew things were going to be run differently in late July when the players reported back to Mankato for offseason workouts. They had never been on campus so early in the summer before, and there they were on the university’s new outdoor track at 7 a.m.

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