Minot, ND – With the New Jersey Titans winning the Robertson Cup just last night the offseason had hardly arrived when the Minotauros and Head Coach and General Manager Cody Campbell got to work reshaping the Minotauros roster trading Cole Mickel to the Wisconsin Windigo (formerly the Minnesota Magicians) for their leading scorer Hunter Longhi. Both players are 2002 birth years heading into their final NAHL season.
Longhi has played 151 regular season games in the NAHL over the last three seasons and an additional 10 games in the Magicians run to the 2021 Robertson Cup Semifinal. He posted 26 goals and 36 assists last season for the Magicians finishing twelfth in the NAHL in scoring; only three of the players with more points than Longhi are eligible to return to the league next season. Longhi is also well behaved on the ice being whistled for just 16 penalty minutes last season, the third fewest of the league’s top 20 scorers. Longhi earned NAHL Forward of the Month honors last February, posting six goals and nine assists in seven games.
Longhi is happy to be a Tauro, “The trade was a bit of a shock at first, but I’m excited to be in Minot. I feel like there’s a great group of guys in Minot that all share the goal of winning a Robby Cup and move on to D1 hockey, so it should be a great season.”
Longhi also brings experience from a deep playoff run 2021 in which his Minnesota Magicians won the Midwest Division and met the Aberdeen Wings in the Robertson Cup Semifinal. Thought the record setting Wings swept the Magicians Longhi played well scoring a goal in each game of the best of three series.
As for the that experience Longhi intends to bring that to the Tauros room, “the Robby Cup run we went on was the greatest part of my junior career. Playing with your division banner hanging up on the wall says a lot about what type of team we had, on and off the ice. I think that I can bring experience and knowledge of what it takes to get to the Robby Cup and once you get there, who knows right?”
For the Tauros the trade comes from a position of strength looking to fortify a position of need. Campbell explained, “We have struggled to score over the last two seasons. Both of the last two season we have been last in the central division in goals scored and felt we needed to do something to combat that on the player personnel side of things. To get a high-end player you have to give up a high-end player and with the depth we have returning on the back end we felt comfortable making this move to add a game changing forward.” Even after the trade the Tauros have seven defensemen from last season’s team eligible to return plus tenders Joseph Blackley, Carter Bradley, Adam Mahler, and Weston Knox.
The reason Campbell felt comfortable making the trade goes beyond the desire to add offense to his belief in the player he acquired, “we are thrilled to add Hunter. He has been a prolific scorer in this league and will add additional experience to our group as he enters his 4th season in the NAHL. We feel he will be one of the most coveted forwards in our league for NCAA Division I programs early next season.”
As Campbell pointed out the Tauros are looking to bolster their offense with the trade. Of the Tauros top seven scoring forwards last season only Colby Joseph returns. The only other forward with double digit goals eligible to return for next season is Braydon Beahm, and he was selected in the second round of the USHL Draft. The rest of the Tauros returning forward group posted 36 total goals last season, Longhi had 26 on his own.
As for the cost, Mickel, the team captain and a fan favorite will be missed. Campbell had nothing but praise for the departing Mickel, “we thank Cole for his contributions to the Tauros for the past two seasons. He was a fantastic role model and example in the community. We wish him the best with Wisconsin and in his college career at Niagara.”
The Tauros offseason will not slow down as Pre-Draft Camps kick off on Friday. Stay tuned to gotauros.com and the Tauros socials for updates on the Tauros coaching staff and all other news through the off-season.