June 25, 2009 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Blais Brings Hastings to Staff From Gophers

CHN Staff Report

OMAHA, Neb. — Minnesota assistant coach Mike Hastings has decided to return to Omaha to be part of Dean Blais' new coaching staff at Nebraska.

Hastings, who was previously the head coach of the USHL's Omaha Lancers for 14 seasons, spent last year as assistant with the Gophers.

Blais will also retain UNO assistant Nick Fohr to round out his staff.

“Mike Hastings has a proven track record of developing players for Division I college hockey, and he will be a great asset as we work to take UNO to the next level,” said Blais. “In addition, Nick Fohr has done a fine job during his two years as an assistant coach at UNO, and he will provide continuity to our program both on the ice and in recruiting.”

Hastings is winningest coach in USHL history, with a career record of 529-210-56. He led the Lancers to the USHL’s Clark Cup championship during his final season of 2007-08, one of three playoff championships during his time in Omaha. He was twice named the USHL’s Coach of the Year and as the team’s general manager, was named the league’s GM of the Year five times.

Minnesota, meanwhile, was taken aback by Hastings' departure. Head coach Don Lucia had brought Hastings in last season after parting ways with previous top assistant Mike Guentzel, who wound up at Colorado College.

"We got thrown a little bit of a curve here," Lucia told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "We'll miss Mike, but it's a great opportunity for someone else."

That someone else will be former Gophers captain Grant Potulny, at least on an interim basis. Potulny had recently been added to the staff as a volunteer assistant.

Hastings, who came to Minnesota from the Omaha Lancers of the U.S. Hockey League last summer, has been hired to assist new Nebraska-Omaha coach Dean Blais at Omaha.

Hastings, who played two seasons at St. Cloud State before an injury ended his career, has also been an assistant coach for the 2003 and 2005 U.S. World Junior team.

Fohr will be entering his third season as an assistant coach in the fall. The native of Grand Forks, N.D., played for the Mavericks from 1998-2002, garnering 15 goals and 10 assists in 139 games.

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