Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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Ex-U assistant expects to have MSU competing for titles

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under College hockey, MS-Mankato Updated: April 20, 2012 - 12:45 AM

Mike Hastings is smooth -- as a talker.

The new Minnesota State men's hockey coach talked about commitment, family, getting better every day and a number of other topic on Monday during a news conference in Mankato.

He was named the third Mavericks coach ever on Saturday, replacing Troy Jutting who held the job for 12 seasons.

Hastings was the associate head coach at Nebraska Omaha the past three seasons and before that a Gophers assistant for one.

A video of his news conference is here.

I always got along with him well when he was on the Gophers staff in 2008-09. He seemed sharp, passionate, two admirable qualities.

On Monday, he said, "I am excited. I want to hit the ground running."

Hastings said he went after his new job hard and will have a list of needs and wants.

He said the improvement in facilities that MSU's hockey program needs will get done. "We will find a way. ... We are going to come up with answers," he said.

He said the Mavericks will be competing for championships and called Mankato and the university "a special place, a place I am going to call home."

His priorities, he said, would be to take care of the athletes already in the porgram, to let them know the coaching staff and school is committed to them. He also wanted to widen the recruiting base of MSU and accomplish something every day.

PROSPECTS GAME COMING

USA Hockey, in an effort to raise the visibility of American-born players, is starting as an all-american prospects game. It will be held Sept. 29, 2012 in Buffalo, N.Y. The Buffalo Sabres are partners in the endeavor.

Forty of the top players eligible for the 2013 NHL draft will be invited to play.

"Players will come from junior hockey and college hockey, as well as the high school and prep school ranks," said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey in a news release. "We'll be in contact with NHL Central Scouting as we build the final list of players invited to compete in this inaugural event."

Invitations will go out in late June or early July. A few Minnesota kids should get one.

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