Minot, ND – The Minot Minotauros have a pair of big weekends with the Austin Bruins coming up as the rivals enter the month of November tied for first place in the NAHL Central Division; but that does not mean that Head Coach/General Manager Cody Campbell and his staff are not looking ahead. November 1, annually also marks the first day that NAHL teams can sign future prospects to Tender Agreements for the next season. Just hours after the Tender window opened Campbell and Co. had three targets locked up for the 2023-24 season; Ty James, Ian Spencer, and Blake Steenerson.
Campbell was understandably excited to get all three signed on the first possible day stating, “each of these guys we have tracked for a year plus now. We are very confident in what they bring to the table as we start to build our 23-24 roster.”
James, a defenseman, is a 2005 birth year who played well at the Tauros 2022 Main Camp before going to Omaha AAA in the NAPHL. He said he chose Minot for two reasons, first, “I think it’s the spot for me and my style of play,” and second, “I am pretty good friends with recent player Braydon Beahm and I have heard nothing but good things about Minot.” Campbell sees James as “a dynamic smooth skating defenseman. He is very poised and has the ability to create offense from the back end. He is a part of a winning culture with the Omaha Mastery AAA program and that will only help his transition to Minot.” Campbell continued, “Ty is a perfect example of a player that has continued to progress since we started watching him last season, through our Main Camp this past summer where he performed very well, and into the first part of his midget season. We are thrilled that Ty is going to be a Tauro.”
Spencer, a forward, comes from Shattuck St. Mary’s where he is posting over a point per game. Shattuck is the same program that has supplied current Tauros Chase LaPinta and David Nesburg, and alum like Huston Karpman. In fact, Spencer was LaPinta’s linemate last season which played a role in him signing with the Tauros, “Lapinta plays there so it’s been awesome to hear the ins and outs of Minot and the Tauros.” He added, “when it comes to the coaching,players and fans I’ve seen and heard nothing but amazing things.” As for what type of player the Tauros are getting, Spencer described himself, “I see myself as a speedy skilled forward that plays 200 feet on both sides of the puck and someone who never backs down to doing what it takes to make the team win.” Campbell agrees saying, “Ian is a high motor player that is coming to us from an extremely strong program in Shattuck St Mary’s. He has great ability to disrupt and create offense through his work ethic, as well as be very responsible without the puck up and down the ice. Ian is also a competitive and humble person that we see transitioning seamlessly into our culture. We have had a solid string of Shattuck players that have been successful Tauros and we look forward to Ian continuing that.”
Steenerson, while last of the group alphabetically was actually the first to agree to sign. The 6’4” 195 pound forward was dominant in the Minnesota Elite League this fall where he finished second in goals (14) and fourth I total points (29). Like both James and Spencer, Steenerson made the decision to sign with Minot in part on recommendations from players he knows. The Maple Grove, MN, product knows Tauros alum Kyle Kukkonen and current Tauro Weston Knox. Ultimately their recommendations along with the fact that Steenerson, “liked what Cody has done to the program and how he really cares for his players not only on the ice but also off the ice,” the heavily recruited Steenerson chose Minot. He also added that fan support played a role stating, “I have also heard very great things about the town of Minot and how much they support their hockey.”
Campbell was excited to get Steenerson, “Blake is a big body that skates very well for his size. He has highend sense and an ability to score at a high level which can be seen by the fact that he was second in goals scored in the Elite League this fall in Minnesota. Blake is also an extremely high character and competitive kid that will fit in very well to our culture here with the Tauros. He had multiple tender offers within our league and within our division and we are thrilled that he has trusted us with his development as he continues on his path towards D1 College Hockey.”
With three Tenders signed the Tauros will continue to work to round out their Tender Class for the 2023-24 season. Fourteen of the Tauros current players were tendered over the last three seasons. See the current Tauros this weekend against the Austin Bruins on Together With Veterans Weekend. The Tauros will be wearing special Together With Veterans jersey which are being auctioned here to support veteran suicide prevention efforts.