‘I’m into the banners and rings.’ MSU announces new men’s hockey coach

Yesterday morning, the Minnesota State Athletic Department announced that Ohio State assistant coach Luke Strand has been named the fifth head coach in the Minnesota State men’s hockey program history.

“I am extremely happy to have coach Strand on board and ready to lead our team to the next level,” said Minnesota State president Dr. Edward Inch. “His record of success and leadership is exemplary, and I look forward to all that he will bring to Mankato and our men’s hockey program.”

The record of success as defined by Inch is evident with Strand. Strand helped lead the Buckeyes to a 21-16-3 overall record this past season before dropping their NCAA tournament second-round contest to the eventual national champion Quinnipiac.

From 2017-22 Strand led the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers as head coach and their director of hockey operations. In his final season with the program, Strand helped foster an impressive 41-16 record before capturing the Clark Cup as the league’s playoff champions.

In addition to his time spent with the Buckeyes and Musketeers, Strand has worked in a multitude of positions and leagues including the NHL, AHL, and additional NCAA teams.

“Being a head coach is my drive, it’s what I do,” said Strand. “Like everybody here, I’m into the banners and into the rings, but I’m into the people that will make sure that happens together.”

Strand’s message is one that will surely excite the community of Mankato, but his agenda and road to a national championship is extremely long after the departure of several key players. But Strand remains confident and adamant that the group of individuals that stayed and the incoming freshman can continue to accelerate the program to new heights in the coming years.

 “These guys stayed; that’s a gift,” said Strand. “We’re gonna fill in the blanks, but I’m very confident there are people that aren’t committing here now that want to be here.”

And Strand’s confidence and excitement has carried through to the same group of players he referenced as being a gift.

“Obviously he has really big shoes to fill but he seems like a stand-up guy and a really good man,” said senior forward Sam Morton. “Excited to get to know him more.”

Morton began his senior year this past season on pace to break numerous personal records and was named the Mavericks’ assistant captain before he was sidelined for the remainder of the year with a knee injury after Minnesota State’s first series with St. Thomas. But he looks to continue with being the leader he was last season under the new bench boss.

“It’s exciting and I’ve learned a lot under the leadership that’s come before me,” said Morton. “But at the end of the day I’m just trying to be a good person and help others learn the culture of our program as well as grow as individuals.” 

Write to Karson Buelow at

Header Photo: MSU Men’s Hockey newly hired head coach, Luke Strand (above), is welcomed to the Maverick family after a press conference Monday. (Dylan Engel)

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