The NCAA Men’s Hockey Frozen Four will have three of the four teams from Minnesota, with St. Cloud State, Minnesota-Duluth, and Minnesota State-Mankato punching their ticket to the semi-finals in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
There will be four coaches in the Frozen Four with Crookston area ties. Crookston High School graduate, Mike Hastings is the head coach of Minnesota State-Mankato. Mike is assisted by Todd Knott, a Red Lake Falls Lafayette High School grad; and Darren Blue, an East Grand Forks Senior High School graduate. Another local tie-in is St. Cloud State Husky assistant coach Nick Oliver, who grew up in Crookston and graduated from Roseau High School.
Mankato beat Quinnipiac 4-3 in OT in the first round. In the second round, Mankato beat Minnesota 4-0. St. Cloud State beat Boston University 6-2 in the first round and beat Boston College 4-1 in the second round.
Mankato will play St. Cloud State in the semi-finals on April 8.
Mike Hastings’ MSU-Mankato Mavericks won their first two NCAA playoff games to get to the Frozen Four. Hastings is in his ninth year as head coach of the Mavericks, and he has a winning percentage of over 70 percent as head coach.
Under his guidance, the Mavericks have won at least 21 games every year, won five MacNaughton Cups as WCHA regular-season champions, two Broadmoor Trophies, and a Jeff Sauer Trophy as WCHA post-season tournament champions, and made five NCAA postseason tournament appearances.
Hastings is assisted by Todd Knott, a Red Lake Falls High School graduate. Knott was a standout multi-sport athlete at Red Lake Falls and played Bemidji State from 1999-2002, where he tallied 14 goals and nine assists for 23 points in 72 games for the Beavers. Knott earned a degree in physical education from BSU in 2002.
Hastings is also assisted by Darren Blue, a native of East Grand Forks. He was a member of the Maverick men’s hockey team from 1991-95 and coached at Chisago Lakes from 96-99, and he has been on the Maverick Staff since 2000.
Nick Oliver joined the St. Cloud State Men’s hockey staff in 2018 as an assistant coach. A former team captain and forward for the Huskies, Oliver most recently served for three seasons as an assistant coach for the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL.
Oliver played in 145 career games during his career at SCSU. He served as a team captain for the Huskies in 2014-15 and earned Academic All-Conference notice three times during his collegiate career. He was a 2009 NHL draft pick of the Nashville Predators.
Nick is a graduate of Roseau High School. Nick’s parents are Denice and Scott Oliver, who reside in Crookston. Denice is the principal of Washington Elementary School in Crookston, and Scott was a football and hockey coach at the University of Minnesota Crookston for many years, and he is currently an Assistant Coach for the state-bound East Grand Forks Green Wave Boys hockey team.