Lucia brings in USHL’s winningest coach as assistant

Mike Hastings will join the Gophers next season after 14 years with the Omaha Lancers.

Brian Deutsch

After over a month of searching for a replacement for recently departed assistant Mike Guentzel, Minnesota men’s hockey coach finally found his man.

Mike Hastings, who with a record of 529-210-56 has the most wins in United States Hockey League history, has been pegged as an assistant coach next season for the Gophers.

“After a month-long search and talking to numerous people, I believe Mike Hastings is the right fit for Gopher hockey,” Minnesota coach Don Lucia said.

“He is a former defenseman who has established himself by winning over 70 percent of his games over the last 14 years in the USHL. Mike has recruiting contacts all over North America, but his ties with the USHL will prove invaluable to our program.”

Hastings has been with the Omaha Lancers for 14 seasons and never had a losing record with the team.

He stepped aside as head coach after the Lancers captured the Clark Cup this season although he did stay on as Omaha’s team President and General Manager until accepting the Minnesota position.

“I’ve been fortunate to have spent the time I had in Omaha,” Hastings said. “The idea of getting back to the college game is exciting. I know that, going forward, I’ve always supported our guys moving on and I know the players and staff here feel the same way.”

A Crookston, Minn. native and a graduate of St. Cloud State, Hastings’s hiring leaves Minnesota without a “U” man on its coaching staff ñ Lucia went to Notre Dame and assistant John Hill is a Alaska Anchorage alum.

But neither Lucia nor Hastings appear to be worried about that according to a press statement released today.

“I grew up in the state and saw firsthand the pride of Gopher hockey in Minnesota,” Hastings said. “To be a part of that is a unique opportunity and will make me proud to go to work every day. It’s something that our entire family is excited about.”

At Omaha, Hastings produced numerous recruits for the University including current forward Tony Lucia and incoming freshmen Nico Sachetti and Nick Larson.

“Mike is from Minnesota and knows the culture of our state and certainly the pride fans have for Gopher hockey,” Don Lucia said. “I wanted someone who was experienced as a coach and recruiter and Mike has a proven record of success in both. I have been recruiting players from Omaha for 14 years and they are always well-prepared for college on and off the ice. Mike is a demanding coach who will leave no stone unturned in his pursuit of excellence.”