by Ken Oda
Minot, ND - The Minot Minotauros are proud to announce that forward Ben Strinden has signed a Tender Agreement for the 2020-2021 season. The Fargo native is a 2002 birthyear player who will have three seasons of junior eligibility when he arrives in Minot for training camp next season.
Strinden has followed a strong first season at Northstar Christian Academy* in which he posted 55 points (29 goals and 26 assists) in 47 games with an even stronger second season in which he has 19 goals and 19 assists in 28 games. As Strinden describes it it was that first season that Northstar that caught the attention of Tauros. "[Assistant General Manager] Chris Lonke began scouting me last year. After that I started paying attention to Minot and attended the main camp as well."
From there Strinden said he decided to sign with the Tauros, "because of the top-notch facility, coaching staff, and Minot's strong fan base." Lonke pointed to Strinden's offensive talent as what caught his eye, "Ben has an equal ability to make a great passing play or finish with a goal scorer's shot." From there he noticed that Strinden, "has a high level of compete and a real good first three steps."
Expectations for Strinden are high among the Tauros staff. Lonke compared Strinden to former Tauro Reid Stefanson, Tauros' Head Coach and General Manager Marty Murray meanwhile compared Strinden to former Tauro Captain Alex Adams; both Stefanson and Adams are now in their sophomore seasons for NCAA DI UMass-Lowell and Bemidji State respectively. Murray added, "He has a very high ceiling on where he can get to as a player. And his character is off the charts as well."
Northstar Knights Hockey Director Rick Randazzo agreed, "I see Ben as a top NCAA DI player as his work ethic, toughness, and ability to shoot the puck will lead to great success on the ice for him." Randazzo also confirmed Lonke's impression saying "Ben is a fierce competitor who has the potential to be an incredible player at the junior and collegiate level. He is a natural goal scorer, with an extremely fast release and a powerful accurate shot."
For his part Strinden has embraced the lofty expectations but is also focused on the present, "My goal is to help Minot win the Robertson Cup next year. I want to play NCAA DI hockey and see how far I can go from there." He also agrees with evaluations of his talent at the offensive end but believes there is more to his game as well, "I believe I am a strong two way player that brings it every shift, and I can put the puck in the back of the net while still bringing the physical presence as well."
Randazzo agreed with Murray's assessment that Strinden's "character is off the charts as well" by saying "Ben is an assistant captain with the Knights and leads by example. A straight A student, he is a joy to have as part of our program." Randazoo continued, "Ben was a huge addition to our program last year as we knew he would be a two-year player for us. A leader, a warrior, and a great teammate. He has exceeded all expectations both on and off the ice. His tremendous work ethic has accelerated his development as he has worked tirelessly to improve his skating."
Strinden has actually already appeared in a game for the Tauros as an Affiliate Player on November 16th when he scored his first junior goal, had two shots, and finished +1 in the Tauros 4-3 win. That game settled things for both the Tauros and Strinden. Of that game Murray said, "Ben passed his test and then some in the game he played last weekend. He fit right in and had an immediate impact scoring a goal for us at a crucial point of the game." While Strinden added, "it was a great experience to be able to get in a game against the Wilderness. The team and coaches made me feel very welcome and it definitely solidified my choice to play for Minot."
* The Northstar Christian Academy is in its second year of existence, playing a competitive 70 game schedule against other Hockey Academies as well as Tier 1 AAA teams at the U18 level. The Knights roster has players from 11 different states on it and skates out of the brand new Northstar Sports Complex located in Alexandria, MN. This year, the Knights have won 28 of their first 29 games, and are ranked number 2 in the country (Independent Prep Schools) and number 13 (Tier 1 AAA programs) on www.myhockeyranking.com.
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