MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — The cancellation of all remaining NCAA winter and spring tournaments due to concerns over the coronavirus means the second ranked MSU men’s hockey team’s season comes to an abrupt halt in a year filled with success for one of the nation’s top squads.
“If there is one word that I’d use to describe the group that we called the 19/20 team is selfless,” said MSU head coach, Mike Hastings.
The Mavericks finished this season with an impressive 31-5-2 record. MSU never lost three games in a row, and the program earned the number one ranking in the nation for the first time since 2015. The Mavericks were supposed to be taking the ice Friday night against Michigan Tech in the WCHA semifinals, but that all quickly changed as the NCAA announced all remaining winter and spring tournaments were canceled earlier in the week.
“Coming around the corner in the locker room and getting in there when the guys were sitting there, and I was going to have to tell them that the season was no longer is one piece. But the second piece is that if this is the worst thing that happens to the group in there and other teams that are out there, they are going to be fortunate because life is tough, it’s hard. We talk about student-athletes, people in general going through a lot of things that teach you to be mentally tough and fight through things. Right now, the concern is the unknown, and trying to take care of the bigger picture, our society and having this not grow anymore. Can we get ahead of it, and that’s the next step. The idea of not having a game to play at the end of the day, it’s a game. Life is a bigger game, so we’re going to try and focus on what we can do to stop the spread of the coronavirus and everything that comes along with it,” said Hastings.
And coach Hastings had one final message for those seniors that helped set new program records and reach a couple of NCAA tournaments.
“First of all, thank you, and the appreciation for what they’ve done up until this point, and continue to challenge them to help us move forward in what they’re going to do in their next step of professional hockey or life and continue to fly the Mav flag and what it stands for,” said Hastings.
As of now, the Maverick hockey program will take things day by day as the situation continues to change.