By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – The Minotauros have had six players from the 2013/14 team move on to the NCAA DIII ranks. Tim Donohue, Jake Johnson, Jake McCann, Max Pernhem, Tyler Shipstad, and Jordan Stejskal; each have committed to play hockey for a DIII program next season. Including the five NCAA DI commits and the two program alum that committed this year and the Tauros have 12 players advancing their careers after playing for the Tauros, the largest number in the program’s three year history.
Donohue, is one of only two players (the other being Jadin Martin) to have been with the Minotauros for the team’s entire history. Having worn the “C” on his jersey the last two seasons Donohue leaves having been the longest serving captain in team history. Tauros head coach Marty Murray said of Donohue “He has been through it all with our program and is a big reason for our club's turn around. We will miss his character on and off the ice, and his ability to come up big for us when needed.” Donohue’s ability to come up big was never more visible than his three goals and three assists in four games against the Austin Bruins in the playoffs this season. The Tauros former captain will move onto Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN.
Joining the Donohue at Gustavus Adolphus College will be his former assistant captain McCann. Coach Murray could not say enough about what McCann meant to the program; “"Jake is what the Tauros are all about. His care factor and work ethic were there every second for the two seasons he spent with us. Jake is a player you root for. He came to camp as a free agent, earned a roster spot, and filled a very important role both on and off the ice for our program in the two years he spent in Minot.” Jake’s game developed significantly in his second year in Minot. He almost doubled his point total from his first year, growing from a solid defensive forward to a solid two way player posting 12 goals and 12 assists in his final season as a Tauro.
Donohue and McCann are not the only two Tauros who will be playing together in college. Shipstad and Stejskal will both be going to the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Shipstad joined the Minotauros last summer after the Fresno Monsters folded. He posted six goals and 11 assists for the Tauros while serving as an assistant captain. Coach Murray praised Shipstad saying “Tyler was a huge part of our team last season. He was a tremendous leader for us and brought a work ethic second to none. He is a fierce competitor and will do whatever it takes to win.”
Stejskal was acquired at late in the season and helped shore up the Tauros defense. Coach Murray said of Jordan; “We acquired Jordan late in the season and after he adjusted to our style of play and systems, he was a valuable member of our hockey club. He brought that veteran calmness to our line up and did a very good job in both ends of the rink.”
Max Pernhem also leaves the Tauros defense corps, the big Swede is headed to Augsburg College in Minnesota. Coach Murray alluded to the import’s adjustment to the North American game saying, “Max seemed to get better and better as the season wore on. He is an ultimate teammate and will do whatever it takes to win. His shot blocking ability, physical presence, and team first mentality will be welcomed at Augsburg this season.”
The final Tauro moving on to college is forward Jake Johnson. “JJ” is the only player of the six DIII commits who still had junior eligibility. He will join former Tauros defensemen Matt Audette and David Dalbec at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. , Coach Murray described Jake’s path to the Tauros, “Jake was a very pleasant surprise for us last season. Coming from a championship team in North Iowa at the Tier 3 level, he knew what it would take to have success at the junior level. Jake brought in work boots everyday and was a valuable member of our hockey club last season.”
With these six players moving on it brings the Tauros three season total to 24 players having moved on to the NCAA DI or DIII levels. Moving players on is the name of the game in junior hockey and Coach Murray summed up this group moving on “It has been a pleasure working with these gentlemen and they will always be part of our Tauros family. Our hope is that they leave Minot being better hockey players and people. We will certainly miss these young men and we will continue to monitor their college careers. We wish good luck to all of them!”
With the draft and two camps out of the way the Minotauros coaching staff is well on the way toward filling the roster spots left open by players moving on. The Tauros will report to training camp on August 25th, the hope is that they can build on the foundation this outgoing crop of Tauros have built.