By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – As the Minotauros seventh season draws near it is time to start meeting the players who hope to head to the NAHL Showcase after training camp. Camp opened September 3rd and the pre-season closes Sunday against the Fargo Force at the Maysa Arena at 3:00 p.m., tickets are free for Sunday’s scrimmage. We continue meeting the team with veteran defenseman Nolan Sawchuk.
Sawchuk returns for his second season as a Tauro after a stellar rookie campaign. From the start of the season Sawchuk was on the Tauros top pair with now departed Captain Jake Dittel. In 56 games Sawchuk posted 4 goals and 28 helpers to finish 15th in scoring among NAHL Defensemen. His +28 rating was second on the Tauros and 7th overall among league defensemen. His strong play earned him a spot on the Central Division All-Star team at the NAHL’s Top Prospects Tournament last season.
Despite the strong start to his Tauro career Sawchuk still has areas of the game he would like to improve. This year he said his goal is “improve my shot and speed this season.”
Tauros Head Coach and General Manager Marty Murray sees and even bigger role for Sawchuk this year; “Nolan was a top defenseman in our division last season, so we have high expectations for him this season. We will count on him for leadership, and anchor a young back end. Nolan leads by example and will be relied on in all situations this season.”
With only seven players back from last year’s team the need for leadership is not lost on Sawchuk either, “I’m excited by a young and enthusiastic group of guys that will bring speed and grit every game. I am also excited by the mixture of size and skating ability of the defensive core that will be valuable on both ends of the rink.”
Sawchuk has two goals this season, “be a part of a championship winning team and to receive a Division 1 scholarship” Murray is also hopeful that the season will result in an NCAA Division I opportunity for Sawchuk, “His hockey IQ and consistency will hopefully earn him a D1 opportunity.
Come back tomorrow when we will meet rookie forward Brendan Sheehan. Do not miss your chance to see Sawchuk and all of the Tauros in action for Sunday afternoon at 3:00 at the Maysa Arena when the Fargo Force come to Minot to close the pre-season. Tickets will be FREE at the door!