A guy on social media who resides in a nearby city recently posted his frustrations over what he said were high gas prices in his town, and he went on to compare that per-gallon price to the lower gas prices in Crookston. He might even consider moving here, the man wrote, if Crookston wasn't such a "dying, dumpster fire" of a town.

    Geez, buddy, how do you really feel?

    Of course, cities everywhere have to deal with negativity more often than they'd like, even especially vitriolic negativity like the guy mad about paying a few cents more per gallon for gas. All towns get picked on, it's just that Crookston for whatever reason seems to get picked on a bit more than most, whether the picking is being done by people like the gas price complainer who lives elsewhere, or people who have called Crookston home for a long time but apparently don't despise their town enough to pack up and leave.

    We have a lot of things to be proud of here in Crookston, and a lot of people to be proud of, whether they live here now, or lived here at one time and moved on to do great things elsewhere.

    Like Mike Hastings. A good guy and real solid hockey player who graduated from Crookston Central in 1984, Hastings has gone on to enjoy an excellent career as a hockey coach. He's been behind the Gophers' bench, he's one of the most well-known and well-respected names in the world of junior hockey, and he currently coaches Minnesota State Mankato, consistently one of the best Division I men's college hockey programs in the country.

    Hastings just finished up a gig as head coach of the United States' 2019 World Junior team. It's one of the most sought-after coaching jobs you can get and the event just might be the most exciting annual hockey tournament on the planet. Hastings’ team took the silver medal Saturday night in Vancouver, British Columbia, losing a heartbreaker to Finland in the gold medal game, 3-2. A U.S. goal that was mysteriously waved off earlier in the game might have changed the complexion of the entire contest and may have actually cost the U.S. the gold, but Hastings took the high road and was gracious in defeat.

    Local hockey fans and especially Hastings fans no doubt followed the 2019 tournament closely, and obviously they watched Saturday's thrilling game. But, beyond that, what’s the big secret?

    Did anyone else have a clue that Hastings is our guy...Crookston's guy? Did anyone passing through town during the entire tournament see a sign outside a business wishing "Crookston's own" Mike Hastings and his team good luck? Did any establishments host any kind of viewing parties? (And, if so, did they advertise them?) There was a lot of hockey played at Crookston Sports Center over the weekend; did the digital crawler sign on the Event Arena scoreboard ever mention Hastings or wish him and his team luck? How about the digital sign outside Crookston High School? Heck, we could have/should have proclaimed Mike Hastings Day in Crookston the moment he landed the World Juniors head coach job.

    Does anyone outside of longtime Crookston people know that one of the most successful amateur hockey coaches in the nation grew up and graduated here?

    This isn’t some social media clickbait survey or study that claims Crookston is a good town for this vague reason or that, this is a real person who’s accomplished great things, and he deserves to be celebrated. He certainly deserved some outward attention and expressions of pride from his hometown during the 2019 World Junior Tournament.