The reaction in Gophers circles seems to be almost exclusively positive with the news Tuesday that Bob Motzko has been hired as the new Minnesota men's hockey coach. He was of course a former assistant with the Gophers when they won their two NCAA titles under longtime head coach Don Lucia and seemed like both the smartest and best-credentialed choice for the job.
But as is the case with a lot of coaching hires, one program's gain is another's loss. And the reaction an hour northwest of the Twin Cities in St. Cloud is far less cheerful.
Motzko took over as head coach at St. Cloud State in 2005. The program had established itself as a college hockey contender by making four straight NCAA tournament appearances under Craig Dahl between 2000 and 2003, but the Huskies had never won an NCAA tourney game until Motzko arrived.
St. Cloud State won its first tourney game in 2010 and reached the Frozen Four in 2013. In all, Motzko took the Huskies to eight NCAA tournaments — the last of which ended in disappointment this season when No. 1 seeded St. Cloud State was upset by No. 4 Air Force.
Motzko, who turned 57 on Tuesday, brought the program to consistent national relevance, and he was a St. Cloud State alum. Huskies fans might have assumed they had a head coach for life and at least another 5-10 years of presumed excellence. What they are left with now are raw emotions and uncertainty, which played out Tuesday on Twitter:
That might have been the most powerful tweet I saw, but then again here's former St. Cloud State and Wild player Mark Parrish comparing this to a death in the family.
Then there are those who are just plain angry and betrayed.
The go-to feed for St. Cloud State fandom is understandably distraught and looking for distraction.
My friend and St. Cloud State man Dana Wessel injected some humor into the bit:
And finally, perhaps the most level-headed perspective: