Andover head coach Mark Manney on the good arguments with his assistants, coaching after Air Force

Manney — the head coach of the defending Class AA state champions — talks about the coming season, his background, piloting Air Force One and more.

Maple Grove vs Andover_3042.jpg
Andover players gather at the student section after the winning goal in double overtime to beat Maple Grove Saturday, March 12, 2022, in the State Boys Hockey Tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

Mark Manney retired from the Air Force and then ended up getting into coaching high school hockey. A former Mooorhead High School and Air Force Academy forward, he ended up joining the coaching staff at Andover in 2008 as an assistant coach.

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He became the co-head coach the next season and now his assistant coaches include former Minnesota Duluth forward Cal Decowski and former St. Cloud State defenseman Brett Barta. The three of them argue a lot, but Manney says in a good way.

Manney talks about what it was like to celebrate the Huskies' first state boys hockey title, talks about some of his key returning players and the tough schedule that awaits them.

He also discusses being a pilot on Air Force One, his friendship with Moorhead head coach Jon Ammerman, the loneliness of being a head coach and more on this episode of The Rink Live podcast with Jess Myers and Mick Hatten.



2:00 The first summer after winning a Class AA boys hockey state tournament title

3:15 The development of Andover hockey in the last 10 years

5:00 Where the replacements for last season's seniors are going to come from

5:40 The hurt of being the top seed of 2020 and losing in the first round, how that affected the program

7:10 The status of St. Lawrence recruit Cayden Casey (Des Moines Buccaneers), St. Cloud State recruit Gavyn Thoreson (Waterloo) and Colorado College recruit Cooper Conway (Green Bay), who have all played junior hockey in the USHL this fall and have eligibility left.

8:10 What made him want to become a high school hockey coach after retiring from the Air Force?

The former defenseman has been an assistant boys hockey coach for the defending Class AA state champions since 2012. On the Huskies Hockey Insider podcast, he discusses coaching, SCSU recruits Gavyn Thoreson and Leo Gruba, his time at SCSU and how Augustana's head hockey coach is giving up fishing for pheasant hunting.

9:45 The positive arguing between Manney and assistant coaches Brett Barta and Cal Decowski. How Barta ended up coaching with the Huskies and his talent as a coach

12:50 What it was like moving to Moorhead after playing youth hockey in Bemidji as a youth hockey player


14:25 His relationship with Moorhead head coach Jon Ammerman, how tough a job he has with the Spuds

16:00 Being a pilot for six years on Air Force One under presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush. Working 28-29 days a month. Flying into Iraq during the war

22:25 What was it like playing at Air Force, the connections to the Iron Range

25:00 Fighting getting ahead of yourself as a coach at the beginning of the season

26:10 The Huskies' tough schedule to start the season

28:00 What June and July is like for high school hockey now, the year-round nature of hockey for some players

Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014.
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