Maverick hockey welcomed home by Mankato faithful

After landing at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and took the bus ride home, the Minnesota State men’s hockey team reached back to their home field around 5:30 a.m. Sunday.

It was a tough trip back to Mankato after a defeat in the national championship, but members of Minnesota State University held a celebration for the national second places on Monday to welcome the most successful hockey team in the program’s history.

The reception began with a word from athletics director Kevin Buisman, who introduced Mike ‘Sully’ Sullivan, the hockey team’s announcer, to begin the celebration. The mayors of North Mankato and Mankato showed up and declared together on Monday, April 11, 2022 Maverick Hockey Day in the cities of Mankato and North Mankato.

Subsequently, President Inch addressed the audience and players with a powerful message of gratitude for being a part of a city and a campus that is so connected.

“I could not be prouder of it, they [hockey team] do to support our community and support our campus, ”said Inch. “But the other thing that became very clear after Frozen Four and more clear after we got here is how much our community and our athletic programs are connected. You all come out and support our team. You all come out and fill this arena. It’s an impressive sight and more importantly, it’s an impressive feeling. “

Mavericks head coach Mike Hastings spoke to everyone next and thanked everyone who has had a lasting impact on Minnesota States’ success this season as a hockey team. With his address, Hastings thanked his co-coaching staff, the fans, the players and most importantly, his wife and said: “There is one person I have to thank more than anyone else for all this to happen and that is because I was allowed to move to Mankato by my beautiful wife Jeann. ”

Without Hastings’ decision to take over MSU’s program, who knows where it would be today. Under coaching, the Mavericks have had the most successful stretch in team history, with the team collecting over 270 wins in 10 seasons, including two Frozen Four appearances.

Buisman explained in his speech to the audience that during the hiring process for Hastings, which all started in a Pizza Ranch in Iowa, people told him that the success of the program right now would never ever happen.

“We achieved some things that people said could never be done in Maverick hockey,” Buisman explained. “Having the most winning program over the last decade, three times this year’s coach and performing in two consecutive Frozen Fours was just a crazy dream. And that it would never happen. It’s a true story. Someone actually said that about our program. “

He went on to say that the member who told him this would never be possible broke out of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) to form the NCHC. But this was Buisman’s time to repeat a quote from Toby Keith who said, “‘How do you like me now !?'”

Senior Captain Wyatt Aamodt got his turn in front of an audience of about 500, thanking everyone for coming out to the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center. Aamodt’s most powerful message was that every young child should strive to hear, especially if they want to become a Maverick one day.

“From the second you step on campus, you learn to shop into something bigger than yourself.”

Headline image: Head coach Mike Hastings speaks to the audience of over 500 people at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center on April 11 after the Mavericks’ loss in the national championship game against Denver. (Mansoor Ahmad / Reporting)

Write to Kole Buelow at kole.buelow@mnsu.edu.

Leave a Comment