NAHL’s Minotauros proving to be best fit in 2020-21 for Broomfield native Stofflet
After last season playing at Culver Military Academy, Cole Stofflet had several options on where he would continue playing for the 2020-21 season.
A Broomfield native and U.S. Air Force Academy recruit, Stofflet eventually decided on the NAHL’s Minot Minotauros after the team selected him in the second round (44th overall) in the NAHL Supplemental Draft back in May.
“They called me and said they wanted me to be a part of their team for the upcoming year and I was able to make the team out of main camp,” said Stofflet. “I did go to Waterloo’s (USHL) training camp during Minot’s preseason, but ended up making the decision that I would be a better fit playing with Minot.”
Stofflet said there is a lot of appeal playing for the Minotauros organization.
“The team has been successful for many years in the league and the Central Division,” Stofflet said. “The coaching staff and players spoke for themselves through their play that it was a good team and somewhere that I could develop as not only a player, but as a person. Looking at their past players that are climbing through the ranks of hockey, it was a clear decision that this was the place to be.”
Even after being absent for Minot’s preseason, Stofflet was still welcomed to the team with open arms once he arrived.
“I had met a few guys through outside camps and finally met all of them once I arrived in Minot earlier in October,” Stofflet said. “All the guys on the team welcomed me as one of their own, even after not being there for the preseason. The group of guys here in Minot are great and I wouldn’t want to be with any other group of guys. I am looking forward to being able to be at the rink and compete with top players, day in and day out. I also am looking forward to being able to play in front of large crowds and just taking in the experience as a whole.
“From what I have heard so far and experienced through my first few games, the atmosphere here is electric and one of the best places I’ve played in.”
Stofflet, a defenseman, started playing hockey when he was three years old for Boulder Hockey Club out of Superior. He also played for the Colorado Thunderbirds and Rocky Mountain RoughRiders.
“I was introduced just through seeing games on TV and asking my parents to put me into skating because I wanted to be just like the players on the screen,” said Stofflet, who graduated from Culver in May. “I was lucky enough to play under numerous great coaches. Matt Huckins, Neil Runbeck, Chris Lawson, and Matt Frick were just a few of many coaches that stuck out to me during my youth career in Colorado hockey. They let me progress my game over the years and didn’t try to change my game, but guided me in the right direction to push myself to the next level whether that was from youth to AAA or from AAA to juniors. They all shaped me not only as a player, but also as the man I am today.
“If it wasn’t for these coaches among many others, I would not be where or who I am today.”
After committing to Air Force two seasons ago, Stofflet is set to head to Colorado Springs with the start of the 2022-23 season.
“I keep in touch with the coaching staff at the Academy pretty often,” said Stofflet. “I obviously have areas that need improvement in my game and they just want me to work on my speed and overall strength on the ice as well as in the weight room. I want to improve all areas of my game and prove to them that I can step in right away and make a difference for them on the ice.”
Now embracing junior hockey in North Dakota with the Minotauros, Stofflet has a list of short-term and long-term goals on his mind to chase down.
“My short-term goals right now are to be a key player for Minot, win a division championship, and ultimately, win the league championship,” Stofflet said. “As for my life short-term goals, I want to be a member of the team that they look to for being a good person off the ice and being a good part of the community and take part in events that the team hosts for community outreach.
“Long term, I am looking to play a big role for the Air Force Academy once I get there and become a part of the team. I want to be a guy they look to in order to lead the team and play a crucial role on and off the ice. Being able to stick out as a leader at the Academy is a lofty goal of mine as the whole team is full of leaders both on and off the ice.”
— Matt Mackinder
(Nov. 18, 2020)