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Banks and Howie Join Staff

June 22, 2021 - North American Hockey League (NAHL) - Minot Minotauros News Release


by Ken Oda

Minot, ND - The Minot Minotauros are proud to announce the Tauro Alumni Darren Banks and Jake Howie are returning the Magic City to join the staff as Assistant Coaches to Head Coach/G.M. Shane Wagner.

The additions to the staff finish the reshaping of the Minotauros Hockey Operations Staff that started with Wyatt Waselenchuk accepting the role of Head Coach with Minot State Men's Hockey. Waselenchuk will remain with the Minotauros reverting back to his former role as Goaltending Coach working with the Tauros goaltenders and other players at practice Monday through Wednesday and attending games as his schedule permits.

Aside from his playing days Banks has already spent a year in the Minotauros organization as the Director of Scouting. The Athens, TX, native played for the Tauros during the 2014-15 season which was his final year of junior hockey. From there he moved on to NCAA DIII Finlandia and eventually finished his playing career with the University of Utah in the 2018-19 season. Once he finished playing Banks joined the Steele County Blades in the United States Premier Hockey League as an assistant coach as well as scouting for the Minotauros. Due to his hard work as a scout Banks was quickly promoted to Director of Scouting before being promoted again and joining the coaching staff.

Howie, a native of Grand Blanc, MI came to the Tauros after two seasons in the NA3HL. Howie played his 19 and 20 year-old seasons as a Tauro from 2013 to 2015. When he left was tied for fourth all-time in points as a Tauro with 51 on 23 goals and 28 assists. After that Howie played at NCAA DIII Marian University for four seasons followed by two seasons of professional hockey with the Pensacola Ice Flyers (SPHL) and Columbus River Dragons (FPHL) including winning the 2021 Ignite Cup with the River Dragons this past spring.

Wagner said he is excited for the additions to the coaching staff explaining "Banks is extremely hard working and detail oriented; he wants to learn and help." He continued "Howie has been through the process and was a successful NAHL player, he gets what these kids are going through." Wagner believes that the duo, along with Skills Development Coach/Scout Brian Bauman will not only help develop players in Minot but will help the Tauros identify and recruit top talent; "having two Assistant Coaches will allow us to send one to Showcases and tournaments during the season without leaving us shorthanded on the bench." Wags added that "Brian has always had a very good eye for talent and knows what we need. All three are dedicated to finding the best players for the Tauros and then helping them maximize their talent."

Banks and Howie both pointed to lessons from their playing days and coaches they admired that will guide them as they step into their new roles. As a player Banks believes the success his teams had came down to three tenants, "character, culture, and compete level." Howie said he "always took pride in playing a 200 foot game, creating turnovers, and quickly transitioning to offense; and I hope to have the Tauros play the same way."

Both new Assistant Coaches pointed to past coaches they played for in helping shape their approaches to stepping behind the Tauros' bench. Howie pointed to Jerome Bechard whom he played for in Columbus, Banks to Tom Winkler whom he played for in Gillette and Nick Adamek whom he played for and coached with. Of course, having been Tauros both pointed to former Tauros Head Coach Marty Murray as a major influence as well.

The common thread among all of the influences was both Banks' and Howie's respect for their professionalism. Banks said of Murray, "His professionalism, hockey knowledge and understanding of players is unmatched;" and of Winkler he said, "his ability to make sure all players, no matter their level, were held accountable is something I always admired." Working with Adamek last season Banks said, "Seeing his dedication to details, and how much he cares for his team is something I will carry on to my coaching this season." While Howie said his influences "have a very good presence on the bench but don't do a lot of screaming and yelling. Guys are smart enough to know when they made a mistake and don't need to be embarrassed by being screamed at the moment they get back to the bench. There are other more effective ways to fix mistakes."

Aside from advancing their careers both new Assistant Coaches are excited to return to Minot. Howie said, "Minot is such an underrated and underappreciated city with some of the most genuine people in it. I still have many people that I've stayed in touch with including my billet family. The organization and Mr. Porter just do things the right way and I'm excited to try and bring and a Robertson Cup to the Magic City." Banks was equally effusive in his praise of Minot, "There are many! I would say the people the most. From ownership, coaching staff, billets, trainers and fans everything is first class. Shane has done a great job this last year and I believe more is on the horizon for the Tauros. It is a great city and I truly believe that when Brad set out to 'have the best' as a way of operating and recruiting, he has accomplished this goal and I hope to continue his vision."

The two new Assistant Coaches will jump right into the fire this weekend with the Tauros first of two pre-draft camps. Stay tuned to GoTauros.com and follow the Minotauros social media Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for for all the news and notes as we get ready for the 2021-22 season.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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