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Girls' hockey head coach Josh Colvin reflects on the past three years after stepping down

Colvin (top row) was an assistant under former head coach Jeff Corkish for several years before succeeding him as head coach in 2016. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Hastings Raiders girls' hockey head coach Josh Colvin is stepping down after three years leading the Raider program. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

Hastings Raiders girls' hockey head coach Josh Colvin announced last week that he was stepping down from his head coaching job in order to spend more time with his family. Colvin had spent the last three years as the girls' hockey head coach and the previous nine as an assistant.

Colvin said he will continue to help out the boys' team and remain as an assistant coach with the Hastings football team, but that he wants to be there more as his son grows older.

"I'm going to be honest, Benny (assistant coach Steve Benson who also retired after this season) warned me about this, Cork (former head coach Jeff Corkish) warned me about it, part of me wishes I had resigned three or four years ago because the reason I'm resigning," Colvin said. "I've got four years left with my kid before high school and if I don't make time for him in the next four years, he's not going to make time for me in the four years out of high school.

"So I've missed a ton. Out of my kids' 10 years, I've missed six of his Christmases because of girls' hockey and that's a tough price to pay. So off the ice there's that part, it's just such a hard choice to balance it all out. I'm really going to miss coaching, part of me regrets resigning, there's no doubt, but at the end of the day I just have to put my family first."

What sticks out to Colvin the most are not wins, losses, big games or even moments behind the scenes with rare exception. Instead, it's the relationships he's built along the way that stick with him.

"There's lots of little things, obviously recently the Audra Richards surprise appearance before our first game is going to stick with me, it just reinforces what it is that we're about, which is building relationships with kids and sacrificing for kids to make them have a great experience, so that was huge," he said. "To be honest it's no different than the girls, when I talk to the girls who graduated four or five years earlier, yeah there's a game here or there but it's not that, it's the relationships you have. It's a special opportunity to be a part of kids lives and that's the hardest part about walking away, from the girls side that I don't get to have those kinds of relationships."

One of the most significant aspects of Colvin's time as the girls' head coach has been his push to empower his players to be leaders and have the opportunity to lead. Where a vast majority of coaches control almost every aspect of their programs, Colvin went the opposite direction as he gave his players more and more input.

"I'll be honest, we live in a generation when parents mean well, they really want to protect their kids from the world," he said. "They want to protect them from obstacles, they want to make sure their kids are successful and happy. The reality is the way you prepare for being an adult is taking those things on.

"You have coaches that pay people to run their captain's practice, well then what are your captains? There are coaches who dictate exactly what's going to go on in the locker room. When you let kids take leadership roles they're going to screw up, just like when you let me take leadership roles or any other adult, you're going to make mistakes and that's the whole point. So I'm really proud what I've tried to do with that, making the girls take over captain's practice, having them deal with locker room issues, having them hold me accountable."

Reflecting back on his previous three years, Colvin did say there was one area he wished he had known more about going in.

"The one thing I wish I had known in year one is how critical scheduling is. What I didn't realize is how important it is to play the schedule that matches your current players," he said. "As we as town have declining enrollment, I was still playing Stillwater and Hill-Murray twice. Lakevilles, Farmington, those schools where to be honest we fit better against Chisago Lakes and Owatonna. So the coach that steps in next year, I worked really hard to make sure they have a schedule that they can come out and be competitive and have some success right out of the gate next year."

Colvin's teams went 23-48-3 in the regular season over his three years and 15-16-1 in the Metro East Conference, with their best finish being in 2016 when they went 7-4 and took second to Hill-Murray. The Raiders were 0-3 in the section playoffs over that time, losing to Eagan in 2017 and this past season and Apple Valley in very close game in 2018.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a RiverTown Multimedia sports reporter covering Hastings, Farmington and Rosemount athletics. He graduated from Drake University with a journalism degree in 2014. 

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