Colorado Rubber

Colorado’s and Utah’s Authoritative Voice of Hockey

RoughRiders’ big-time player Cox-Smith heading home with Minot tender for ’21-22 season


Liam Cox-Smith grew up in Minot, N.D., and came to the Rocky Mountain RoughRiders prior to his 15U season three years ago to fast-track his development in the game of hockey.

And NAHL teams have noticed Cox-Smith’s skill.

Last summer, the Minnesota Wilderness selected Cox-Smith in the first round (14th overall) of the NAHL Entry Draft, but he instead came back to play 18U with the RoughRiders.

Recently, Cox-Smith signed a tender to head home and play next season for the Minot Minotauros.

“After a certain point this year, it became available for Minot to offer me a tender,” Cox-Smith said. “I spoke with Coach (Shane) Wagner and moved forward with it.  Being from Minot, I’ve watched many Tauros games growing up and to be given an opportunity to play in my hometown is something I’m excited about. Coach Wagner has already been in good communication with me, and I plan to come in to Minot and do whatever I can to help the team win.

“I’m excited to be going home for the start my junior hockey career. Minot has great ownership, organization, coaching staff, and fan base. I’m also familiar with a few of the guys on the current team and look forward to getting to know them better.”

This season with the RoughRiders, Cox-Smith has been part of state and district champs with USA Hockey Nationals approaching.

“After winning states and districts, I’m looking forward to playing our best at nationals and showing that we belong as a top team in the nation,” Cox-Smith said.

Cox-Smith added that he would not have earned the opportunities and experiences if not for the RoughRiders.

“Hockey plays a big role in my family, and I began skating about the same time I started walking,” he said. “After attending the USA National Development Camp when I was 15, I visited with my family and my coach at the time, Brian Bauman, and we made a connection with Coach (Jamie) O’Leary and visited for a skate. I knew right when I got to the Sport Stable, that I wanted to be a RoughRider. 

“I played 15U, 16U, and now 18u for the RoughRiders and have been blessed each season with a great coach. Coaches Jamie O’Leary, Greg Vanover, and Doug Smail have been huge to my development.”

Moving forward, Cox-Smith said his short-term goals are to finish this season strong with the RoughRiders and to be ready for junior hockey, with his long-term goal being to play NCAA Division I hockey and attend college in pursuit of a degree. 

— Matt Mackinder

(March 19, 2021)

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