“When I was younger the goal was just to play college hockey,” said Coatta. “I was always a fan of the WCHA growing up and as things went along, once I started hearing from Minnesota State, with the coaching staff, where the program appeared to be headed with the possibility of being on a team that could compete for championships every year, the school itself, it all was pretty attractive and some something that I wanted to be a part of.”
So far, so good.
Following a standout high school career at Minnetonka (Minn.) where he had 89 goals and 190 points in four seasons with the Skippers and junior hockey stops with Penticton of the British Columbia Hockey League and Waterloo of the United States Hockey League,
Coatta has made his mark in his four seasons at Minnesota State.With a penchant for durability, special teams play and a knack for scoring goals in bunches (he has a pair of hat tricks during the course of his college career), Coatta is a two-time WCHA All-Academic selection and a two-time WCHA Scholar-Athlete.He was named to the WCHA All-Rookie Team in 2015-16and has twice been named Minnesota State’s Hardest Worker.
The reliable two-way forward is in his second season as a team captain, but in reality has been working as a team leader from the get-go.
“I try to bring positive energy with every shift,” said Coatta. “I think skating is one of my stronger points and I think I have a good shot, I can play a role on the penalty kill and chip in offensively, as well, and it’s important to set the table, actions-wise, for the younger guys on the team.”
With a pair of MacNaughton Cups under his belt in his first three years with the program, Coatta is looking for a third this year and head coach Mike Hastings feels that the contributions being made by his veteran front-line player over the course of his career should not be overlooked or undervalued.
“He’s been an example for others from the time he joined our program as a freshman,” said Hastings, who is in his seventh year in charge of the Mavericks. “As Max has continued to mature as a player and as a person, he’s continued to exude leadership skills in all areas. He is mentored classmates and teammates and he’s one of those guys that takes care of the group...everybody. I respect him as a player, as a leader and as a young man.There is no doubt the he’s helped us get to where we are as a program.”
Coatta’s older brother, Sam, won a NCAA Division I men’s hockey national championship as a member of the Union Dutchmen in 2014 and maybe this is the year that the younger brother will have an opportunity to emulate that feat.
“There’s going to be ups and downs every year,” said Coatta.“We came out of the gates pretty fastthis year, but as a team we’ve been confident, knowing that we can compete for a championship.I think we’re especially close this year as a group and we have good depth with a lot of game changers. We’ve put ourselves in a good spot as we get near the end of the regular season.Obviously we’re hoping to finish on top of the conference standingsand then it’s moving on to the league playoffs. We’ve had some good teams during my time here, but haven’t been able to win one of a WCHA playoff title during my time here, so that would be a big stepping stone for us. And then after that we’ll see how things go.”
Contributed by Paul Allan, Minnesota State Assoc. Director of Athletics