Three seasons later, Jared McIntosh vividly recollected the adrenaline pulsating through his veins when the Dakota College at Bottineau bus slid into a ditch off U.S. Highway 2.
McIntosh, who played forward for DCB at the time of the accident, recalls the bus driver's attempt to beat an anticipated winter storm - a decision that would strand the team overnight en route to Michigan. McIntosh was initially so shook up by the accident he couldn't recall whether the bus had heat to protect them from the sub-zero temperatures.
"That was the worst road trip ever," the 24-year-old said. "I really want to say we didn't (have heat), but I don't remember being cold. I was so in shock we were in a ditch."
Minot State forward Jared McIntosh positions himself to score on a breakaway in a game earlier this season. Coach Wade Regier said McIntosh’s determination has enabled him to come back from severe injuries twice in the last three seasons.
The bus fiasco was just one of many road trips the native from Fairfield, Calif., has experienced in a hockey career that began as a fifth grade recreation roller hockey player and continues with the Minot State University club team.
Throughout his career, McIntosh rehabilitated career-threatening wrist injuries, dealt with management changes during his junior hockey stint in Alaska, and was even a victim of the 2011 Souris River flood. All of this occurred in pursuit of playing a game that has taken him on a journey throughout North America.
McIntosh has endured two major injuries in the last three seasons, including a broken ankle that took him the whole offseason to recover from in preparation for the 2011-2012 season.
"The injury happened from me just not taking proper care of my body," McIntosh said. "The training staff (at MSU) already told me I could play again. This was just more waiting. I would say it took the whole summer."
While waiting to heal, McIntosh and his roommates also weathered the flood, as he elected to stay in Minot over the summer.
"For me, honestly, the flood was a whole new experience that was quite interesting," McIntosh said. "It didn't affect me as much as the other people because all of my prized possessions were in California. However, I remember seeing the faces of people (who lost everything) and it was such a humbling feeling."
Prior to playing at MSU, McIntosh faced the possibility of having his hockey career abruptly halted after a wrist injury that damaged his tendons at DCB during the 2008-09 season.
"I honestly had no idea what I did to my wrist or when I hurt it. I talked to the (DCB doctors) and the pain just wouldn't go away. I played on it, and I didn't care," McIntosh said.
McIntosh went back to northern California and stayed around the game by coaching a youth hockey team, the Vacaville Jets, in 2009-10. He continued to rehab his injured wrist, uncertain if he would ever play again.
After a few of his former DCB teammates had expressed their intentions to go to MSU, McIntosh began considering the school and was able to recover enough to generate interest from coach Wade Regier, who remembers how much trouble McIntosh gave the Beavers as a member of the Lumberjacks.
"(The injury) was a challenge for sure," Regier recalled. "There are so many tendons that you can damage. A lot of guys who have wrist injuries never regain any comfort from that. You typically always have to retape or play with a cast, and never regain full natural motion in the wrist. It's also overcoming the psychological aspect of overcoming an injury that is difficult as well."
Regier said because of McIntosh's roller hockey roots, he is one of the best possession players on the team. McIntosh's junior hockey career began in Alaska, where he was stationed 7,000 miles away from home during his senior year of high school. He had to complete his courses through correspondence.
After a change in management, he demanded a trade that he was not granted. That led him to play for the Winkler Flyers, a junior team in Manitoba, a year prior to attending DCB.
"At Alaska, I had never been on a team where you walked into the rink to find out you got traded or even released," McIntosh said. "I spent a lot of time in the gym, and on the ice."
His first season in Canada was an eye-opener.
"Living in Manitoba really changed my whole life," McIntosh said. "Because I lived on the coast in Alaska, this time in Canada was the first time I had ever experienced a great winter that had snow."
McIntosh said he plans on playing hockey as long as he can, but wants to ultimately get into social work. He also wrote a children's book, Apan, that addresses racism and false first impressions. The proceeds from the book benefit a Bay Area charity.
"Playing in the NHL is not something I strive to do," McIntosh said. "If I can play hockey when I am done with school, I will, but (my career in social work) is my goal at the moment."