Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Men’s Hockey: Mike Hastings brings key traits to men’s hockey program

Ahmad Hamid

Mike Hastings, a renowned figure in the world of collegiate hockey, is currently at the helm as the head coach for the men’s hockey program at the University of Wisconsin. His illustrious career spans more than two decades and is marked by remarkable achievements and unwavering dedication to the sport.

As a season ticket holder and immense fan of UW hockey, frequent match attendee Mary Anderson expressed her joy surrounding Hastings’ hiring. 

“[H]e is a leader who skates to the forefront, guiding not just a team, but a legacy of excellence in every stride,” Anderson said.


Hastings is in his first year as head coach at UW — taking over after a distinguished tenure as the head coach of the Minnesota State Mavericks men’s hockey team from 2012 to 2023.

Men’s Hockey: Hastings era moves forward with more new additions

Hastings’ coaching journey began with the Omaha/River City Lancers from 1994 to 2008, where he earned accolades such as the United States Hockey League Coach of the Year twice in 1997 and 2002, and the USHL General Manager of the Year award five times —1997, 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2008.

After his triumphant 14-year stint in the USHL, Hastings transitioned back to college hockey. He initially served as an assistant coach for one year at the University of Minnesota and then became the associate head coach at the University of Nebraska–Omaha.

But his transformative impact was most evident when he assumed the role of head coach at Minnesota State.

When Hastings arrived in Mankato, the Mavericks’ program had endured a challenging period with just one winning season in the prior nine years. Despite this characteristic, under his visionary leadership, the program underwent a remarkable transformation. In his inaugural year, Hastings guided the team to a record of 24-14-3, doubling the previous season’s win total and securing their second NCAA tournament appearance since joining Division I in 1996. 

The team continued to thrive over the next two seasons, winning the Western Collegiate Hockey Association tournament both years and clinching the No. 1 seed in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. Notably, in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, Hastings steered Minnesota State to two victories en route to the Frozen Four. His extraordinary achievement of five consecutive seasons with 20 or more wins at the start of his coaching career led to the Mavericks extending his contract for a decade in the spring of 2017.

Throughout his illustrious coaching career, Hastings has amassed numerous accolades, including conference regular season championships, conference tournament championships and a Division I title game appearance in 2022.

Men’s Hockey: Where will Badgers go from here?

His impact on the sport and his dedication to developing both athletes and young minds continue to make him a respected figure in collegiate hockey. But his thoughts about his past success were realistic.

“I just think career numbers … are something you can look back on when seasons are done,” Hastings said. “I’m appreciative of the number and the work that was put in by the players and the staff that I’ve had the opportunity to work with.”

The future of Badgers men’s hockey is filled with promise and excitement, as the program continues to build upon its storied history and traditions. 

Hastings is not only known for his strategic acumen, as he continues to evolve with the game he’s become successful in coaching in.

“What [the team is] trying to do is make sure we’re taking away as much time and space when we don’t have it, and then trying to push the pace when we do have it, in a way that we’re connected, whether that’s from our end to the neutral zone to the offensive zone,” Hastings said.

Men’s Hockey: Mike Hastings named sixth head coach of UW men’s hockey team

As a new coach, communication is key. Hastings is working to connect on a higher level with his athletes to better prepare himself for the winter season. Hastings said he wants to focus on communication and how to best send a message to his players.

What sets Hastings apart from other coaches is that he appreciates feedback from his players and staff when setting new expectations within the program. Moreover, Hastings understands the importance of teamwork and unity in achieving success.

“Hockey is a team sport, and success comes when every player buys into a common goal,” Hastings said.

This team-centric philosophy is likely to resonate with the Badgers, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose among the players. As Hastings embarks on this new chapter with the red and white, the anticipation is palpable among fans and players alike.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *