Strand named head coach of Maverick men’s hockey team
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Luke Strand has been named the fifth head men’s hockey coach in program history.
Strand comes to Minnesota State after spending the last year as an assistant at Ohio State where he helped lead the Buckeyes to a 21-16-3 record, including a third-place finish in the Big Ten Conference and a berth in the 2023 NCAA Tournament that included a convincing 8-1 opening round win over Harvard.
MSU Athletic Director Kevin Buisman is eager to welcome Strand to the program and anticipates a bright future.
“We are very excited to bring this process to closure and to announce this tremendously important leadership change. The Maverick hockey brand is founded on outworking our opponents in every facet of the game, and Luke has created a reputation for developing a culture built on that identity. He impresses me as someone who is more than ready to put in the type of hard work he knows will be necessary to continue the program’s upward trajectory by building upon a solidly established foundation,” said Buisman in a statement.
Prior to his time at Ohio State, Strand coached in the highly competitive United States Hockey League (USHL) for the Sioux City Musketeers for five seasons, guiding them to an impressive Clark Cup title in 2022 behind a 41-16 record. The USHL is regarded as one of the top producers of college hockey talent, including current Maverick Alex Tracy, who starred for Strand on that Clark Cup championship team, and Maverick forward Brendan Olson who also played for Strand in Sioux City. More than a dozen former Musketeers who played under Strand have been selected in the NHL draft. While with the Musketeers, Strand also served the organization as President of Hockey Operations.
“It is an honor to be chosen as the next men’s hockey coach at Minnesota State University,” said Strand in a statement. “I am grateful to President Inch and Director of Athletics Kevin Buisman for this opportunity. The alumni who have paved the path before us have proven that this is a special place, and that is an important responsibility to uphold as we start this next chapter. We will play with tenacity, pace, and be connected as a team. I cannot wait to start with our student-athletes, welcome our incoming class of players, and discover future Mavericks.”
A Wisconsin native, Strand played junior hockey for the North Iowa Huskies of the USHL before starting a four-year collegiate career at UW-Eau Claire, where he also played baseball. During his time as a Blugold, Strand played in 104 games, scoring 41 goals and recording 44 assists for a total of 85 points. Following the stop in Eau Claire, Strand played three years of professional hockey for the Madison Monsters and Madison Kodiaks of the UHL.
Strand has a son, Bryce, and his fiancée, Sadie, has a daughter, Ella, who plan to relocate to the Mankato area over time.
Strand replaces Mike Hastings who left Minnesota State for a similar position at the University of Wisconsin. Minnesota State played to a 25-13-1 record this past season.
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