by: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
As excited as I am looking forward to the 2022-23 Tauros season I can’t help today but to look back. Ten years ago today I rolled into Minot exhausted (on a spare tire that I had changed about an 90 minutes east of Grand Forks on US 2 at 3:00 am) and walked into the Maysa Arena for the first time. I didn’t know anyone here; I hadn’t even heard of Minot before they had joined the NAHL the year before. All I knew of the city was that the team had won just seven games the year before and made the 13 wins we had in Chicago not seem so bad. A big city kid with big dreams I wasn’t planning to be here long, I was going to work hard, hone my craft, and advance my career. But then I met all of you.
Look how far we’ve come together. The Eck Rink had fewer bleachers, no mezzanine, and the worst thing from a broadcaster’s point of view: no press box. The Pepsi Rink was just an idea back then. The Trinity Faster gym was the Trophy Room Bar filled with taxidermy saved from the flood the summer before. But it isn’t just the Tauros that have grown, the city has too. Downtown has been revitalized, new developments have sprung up on the north and south ends of town. All the while I fell in love with this city… it became home. I finally, (or is it kind of?) grew up here. I met the love of my life Victoria here and get to be a dad here. When job offers do come now I politely tell them, “I’m honored, but Minot is where I want to be.”
I’m not foolish enough to think I built any of this. It was you, the fans, you’ve opened your homes to billet, sponsored us through your businesses, volunteered on game nights, formed a booster club, and packed the Pepsi Rink making every home game a party. The Tauros would never have survived without you, no matter how hard we tried. I can’t thank you all enough, truly everything I have in my life in Minot is because of you all and there really isn’t any way to repay that.
That’s doesn’t mean I won’t try. After ten years I’m fairly confident in saying I almost know what I’m doing. We are going to keep growing what we do working to give you the best fan experience in junior hockey. We’re also growing what we do off the ice to give back to the community that has supported us for 12 years. Whether you’re coming to the game alone, with friends, or a family, we have the most affordable game night experience in the Central Division and I don’t intend to change that any time soon. As I look ahead I’m as excited for the Tauros’ future now as I was back then, just think what we can accomplish together over the next ten years!