Last February, when then-junior Lauren Tix heard that her coach, Jeff Corkish, was resigning, she was filled with anger. Tix suddenly did not know what to expect. She was looking forward to a senior season with Corkish, the mentor of the Hastings girls’ hockey program for 17 years.
Her agitated mind quickly calmed after Hastings activities director Trent Hanson named Josh Colvin as Corkish’s successor.
“I have known Colvin since I was a little girl,” Tix said. “He gives me the reassurance that we are going to be good, and we are going to be OK.”
Hastings hockey’s tradition of success made Hanson’s decision simple.
He hired Colvin, who also teaches at the high school, in part because of his longtime involvement with Raiders hockey and his understanding of the program’s rich past.
The lobby of the Hastings Civic Arena is lined with former Raiders greats. The jerseys of Ms. Hockey winner Erica McKenzie and Mr. Hockey honoree Jeff Taffe, both University of Minnesota hockey standouts, hang high.
Professionals from Taffe to Derek Stepan are honored, along with acknowledgment of McKenzie’s gold medal on the U.S. National team. Decades of future-college skaters have played inside.
Now it is Colvin’s turn to develop and lead future Raiders players.
One of his first tasks this season is replacing Kiki Radke, who graduated after last season as the second-highest goal-scorer in program history and a Ms. Hockey finalist.
“This fall has been about making sure we have a system in place that will get us the next Kiki Radke,” Colvin said. “Corkish left this in such a great place. I knew I was stepping into a really good situation.”
Colvin has served as goalie coordinator, junior varsity head coach and had stints on the sidelines of the Hastings varsity football team. He prides himself on absorbing the knowledge of area coaches, both high school and college, as well as international coaches.
But he credits his “close friend” Corkish with preparing him the most for his new role. Colvin said Corkish taught him to surround himself with driven and quality coaches and always keep an open mind.
“Our job [as coaches] is to teach them to read the stuff that we see on their own,” Colvin said. “Instead of telling them what to do, ask them what did they see?”
Some coaches from the former regime remain, including Steve Benson, who has been with the program for 18 years. Colvin considers him a “co-coach.” Raiders hockey alumni Jordy Klimek and Brooke Weber also serve as assistants; Colvin said the two are “huge” in aiding player development.
With Hastings’ first game coming up Thursday, Colvin did not waste any time in last week’s first practices of the season.
“Practices are at a really fast pace,” senior Laynee Connell said. “There has been a lot more movement on the ice. Colvin is unique, and we like his style.”
Colvin also retained his position as Mite director, overseeing Hastings hockey’s first- through third-grade division. Retaining that role helps him be a face young skaters recognize.
As practice ended last Tuesday, Colvin walked into the Hastings arena’s lobby to greet a group of future Raiders skaters. He knew kids and parents by name and the kids’ faces lit up when Colvin asked them how they were.
Claiming Hastings as his adopted home, Colvin knows these kids are the lifeblood for the next hockey generation.
“That is the idea,” Colvin said, “that we build something that these girls look back on for the rest of their lives as an amazing experience.”