by Ken Oda
Minot, ND - The Minotauros are proud to announce that Cole O'Connell has committed to play college hockey for Concordia College (NCAA DIII) in Moorhead, MN. In doing so O'Connell has become the 100th NCAA hockey commitment in Tauros franchise history.
O'Connell posted 47 points in 98 career games as a Tauro including 13 goals and 19 assists in 49 contests this season. His 32 points was good for eighth on the Tauros this year. O'Connell also represented the Tauros at the 2020 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament where he had a goal and an assist in two games played for Team Central.
Tauros Head Coach and General Manager Marty Murray described O'Connell's game; "Cole is a player that is very versatile playing all three forward positions. He plays in every situation and can be counted on to get the job done. He has a strong skill set, and a great shot. Cole was a key member of our PK group as well." Two of O'Connell's goals came with the Tauros shorthanded this season.
Murray continued his praise of the Tauros outgoing captain, "Cole played a huge role for our organization over the last two seasons. He showed excellent leadership skills, and a team first mentally that made him a unanimous captain. He is loved by his teammates, and does things the right way both on and off the ice."
Two year teammate Joseph Harguindeguy confirmed Murray's assertions; "OC is one of the most unselfish teammates I have ever played with. He's a great leader on and off the ice, he was always working no matter how tired we were." Harguindeguy continued, "with OC being older and more experienced than I was coming into juniors he was able to show me by example how to work hard every day"
NAHL Rookie of the Year Kyler Kleven has known O'Connell going back to their high school days with the Moorhead Spuds and said O'Connell's maturity predates his time in Minot, "He's been my captain for the last three years and I have learned a lot of valuable things from Cole." Kleven explained, "he's a guy in the locker room that everyone looks up to. He's very mature with everything he does on and off the ice. When I first came to Minot he really helped me adapt to the junior lifestyle."
O'Connell said he chose Concordia because of his several ties to the coaching staff as well as the fact that it is in his hometown. Aside from playing hockey O'Connell intends to study finance while in school. According to O'Connell his time in Minot certainly helped him advance to the NCAA saying "[Minot] is a top notch organization, top of the line facilities, and the best fans in the whole league" added that Murray and the coaching staff taught him a lot during his time in Minot, "I learned a lot, better ways to thing the game."
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