As the national pastime of Canada and a beloved sport in the United States, hockey has a rich and storied history. From historic upsets to unprecedented victories, the Minot Minotauros have had their fair share of memorable moments since their establishment in 2011. As fans of minor hockey in North America and around the world gather to discuss the game, let’s take a closer look at some of the most unforgettable moments in the Minotauros’ history.
The Birth of the Minot Minotauros
In 2011, the North American Hockey League (HL) approved the addition of a new team in Minot, North Dakota. The city, known for its cold winters and strong passion for hockey, was the perfect location for a junior hockey team. Thus, the Minot Minotauros were born.
In their inaugural season, the Minotauros were led by head coach and general manager, Marty Murray, a former NHL player. Despite being a relatively new team, the Minotauros had a strong showing in their first season, finishing second in the Central Division and making it to the playoffs.
A Cinderella Story: The 2016 Robertson Cup Championship
In 2016, the Minot Minotauros shocked the hockey world by making a remarkable run to the Robertson Cup Championship. After making it to the playoffs in their previous two seasons, the team was determined to go all the way and bring the championship trophy home to Minot.
The team faced tough competition along the way, defeating top-seeded teams such as the Bismarck Bobcats and the Wenatchee Wild. In the championship game against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, the Minotauros battled it out in a thrilling double-overtime game, eventually coming out on top with a 2-1 victory.
The Minotauros’ improbable journey to the championship was truly a Cinderella story, with the team making history as the first North Dakota-based team to win the Robertson Cup.
Breaking Records with Defenseman Jon Lizotte
One of the most impressive players to come out of the Minot Minotauros organization is defenseman Jon Lizotte. In just two seasons with the team, Lizotte left a lasting mark on the franchise, setting multiple records and earning numerous accolades.
In the 2012-2013 season, Lizotte became the first player in Minot Minotauros history to be named to the HL All-Rookie Team. He also holds the record for most games played, most points, and most assists by a Minotauros defenseman.
Lizotte’s success with the Minotauros earned him a scholarship to St. Cloud State University, where he continued to excel on the ice. In 2016, he signed an entry-level contract with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, making history as the first Minot Minotauros player to sign with an NHL team.
Notable Alumni: Players Who Went on to Play in the NHL
The Minot Minotauros have been a breeding ground for talented players, with many going on to play professional hockey in the NHL and other leagues around the world. One notable alumni is goaltender Atte Tolvanen, who played for the Minotauros during the 2013-2014 season. Tolvanen went on to play for Northern Michigan University and then signed with the Nashville Predators in 2017.
Forward Cameron Rowat, who played for the Minotauros in the 2015-2016 season, is another success story for the team. He went on to play for the University of Minnesota-Duluth and is currently playing for the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings.
In addition to former players, the Minot Minotauros have also produced talented coaches who have gone on to coach in the NHL, such as Brandon Bussi, who is currently an assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks.
Continuing to Make History: The Future of the Minot Minotauros
As the Minot Minotauros continue to build on their success, the future looks bright for the team. In recent years, the team has made it to the playoffs consistently and has had players drafted by NHL teams and recruited by top college programs. With strong leadership and a dedicated fan base, the Minotauros are poised to make even more history in the years to come.