By: Ken Oda, gotauros.com
Minot, ND – The Minot Minotauros are proud to announce that defenseman Connor McGinnis has committed to play NCAA DI hockey for the Air Force Academy. McGinnis becomes the third Tauro to commit since the end of the Tauros run to the Robertson Cup title game and the twelfth overall this season including 10 NCAA DI commitments.
As a rookie McGinnis really came into his own as the season wore on. While he finished the season with a -6 rating he was +1 after the calendar turned to December, he also had two goals and seven assists on the year. The second youngest member of the Tauros defense corps McGinnis’s role grew as his play progressed and with the acquisition of Jake Rosenbaum (committed NCAA DI U. Minnesota-Duluth) from Topeka via trade in late November gave the Tauros a dependable second pair.
As is the case for many of the Tauros McGinnis found another level in the bright lights of the playoffs. McGinnis was +6 in the Tauros 12 playoff games adding four assists as well. Despite relatively low offensive output playing the stay-at-home role while paired with Rosenbaum’s more offensive style McGinnis flashed offensive upside when the situation allowed. There is perhaps no better example than his end to end rush and backhand saucer pass to Michael Talbot (NCAA DIII College of St. Scholastica) to open the scoring in Game Three of the Robertson Cup Semi-Final.
Tauros Head Coach and General Manager Marty Murray praised McGinnis and only expects him to continue to get better, “Connor had a very solid rookie season with us. He’s a very mature player both on and off the ice, and he became a very dependable defenseman for us down the stretch. He does everything well and as he fills into his body, he is only going to get better.” As for the McGinnis’s fit at a service academy Murray continued, “Air Force is a great school for Connor, and they are getting a great kid that will fit into their culture.”
McGinnis himself agreed that Air Force is a good fit saying “I like structure and regiment and at the Academy I will definitely get both on and off the ice. After visiting the second time I knew it was the place for me.” As for the hockey McGinnis added, “the coaching staff is phenomenal and I connected with them immediately and they truly believe in me, the guys on the team have a great attitude about the military aspect and I really bonded with current players and the commits, and the facilities were awesome not to mention the beautiful campus located in the Colorado Springs mountains.”
Another aspect that appealed to McGinnis was the academics, “Air Force also provides me with a great opportunity to pursue my medical school dreams. I plan to study biology through undergraduate school and apply to medical school.”
McGinnis believes his time in Minot was integral to his earning this opportunity to advance his career, “playing in Minot was a tremendous year during which I believe I developed tremendously on and off the ice. Playing in a league full of great players, practicing against our guys, and getting great coaching pushed me to be better and I believe it made me think the game much better.” Of course as with any Tauro who goes DI there were plenty of people who helped him along the way and McGinnis was quick to thank them, “First of all I would like to thank my Mom, Dad, sister’s Michaela and Austin, and my friends for helping me along this journey. I also would like to thank my high school coach Frank Novock for all his help and showing me what it takes at the next level. Lastly, to the entire Minot organization, Coach Marty, Coach Wagner, Coach Waselenchuk, and [Head Scout] Chris Lonke for giving me the opportunity to play in the Magic City and prepare me to play Division 1 hockey. Without these tremendous people I wouldn’t be where I am today.”