Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Hastings promoted to U.S. junior head coach

Mike Hastings' stint as assistant coach for the U.S. National Junior Team turned out to be short-lived.

On Tuesday, USA Hockey announced that the Minnesota State men's hockey coach was promoted to head coach of the team that will participate in the 2019 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.

Hastings will take the spot vacated by David Quinn, the Boston University coach who was tapped to lead the U.S. junior team on April 20. Last week, however, Quinn was hired as head coach of the NHL's New York Rangers. Hastings was set to be an assistant on Quinn's Team USA staff.

"It's always an honor to represent your country and I'm thrilled to be asked to do so as head coach of this year's U.S. National Junior Team," Hastings said in a USA Hockey press release. "Our first few weeks as a staff have already been terrific thanks in large part to David's leadership, and we couldn't be happier to have Scott join in the evaluation process. The talent depth is better than it's ever been, and we fully believe we can build a roster more than capable of claiming a fourth-straight medal in this tournament."

The World Junior Championship will take place Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. Hastings will miss two weekends of Minnesota State games over that time, a tournament on Dec. 28-29 hosted by Arizona State and a home series Jan. 4-5 against Michigan Tech. Assistant coaches Darren Blue and Todd Knott will run things in Hastings' absence.

"Mike was the obvious choice in taking over as head coach of our national junior team,” said John Vanbiesbrouck, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey and general manager of the 2019 U.S. National Junior Team, in a press release. "While we wish David Quinn all the best in his return to the NHL, it speaks volumes to our American depth in the coaching ranks that not only can someone of Mike's stature fill this position, but we can add an individual with Scott's resume, as well."

USA Hockey also announced Tuesday that Minnesota Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin was added to the staff, replacing Hastings as an assistant. The other coaches are Dartmouth associate head coach David Lassonde and Ohio State associate head coach Steve Miller.

Hastings was an assistant coach for Sandelin during the 2005 World Juniors and was also an assistant on the 2003 team. Hastings also twice served as head coach for the U.S. Junior Select Team.

The U.S. has won a medal in three-straight World Junior Championships, taking bronze in 2018, gold in 2017 and bronze 2016.

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