HOLMGREN: Thanks for the Magic City memories

This is not my final article at The Minot Daily News. That’ll be my column in Tuesday’s paper on our all-area girls basketball team.

However, Saturday was my last day as sports editor.

As of today, my time in Minot has come to an end. A bittersweet end.

Now you can take your praise and/or complaints to Joe Mellenbruch, who has been promoted to sports editor. He’ll do a tremendous job, and I’m confident the sports department will continue to make big strides.

Knowing that the department is in Mellenbruch and staff writer John Denega’s hands made it easier for me to accept the Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune’s University of Wyoming athletics beat writer job two weeks ago. I begin my new role April 18 and I’m leaving the Magic City on Wednesday.

You know I’ll be swinging by Ebeneezer’s at least once more to scarf down a Fat Frog.

On a serious note, I want to dedicate most of the column inches of this goodbye to thank-yous.

Undoubtedly, I will forget some folks, so please forgive me in advance.

Minot State has been a treat to cover. I did my best to take our coverage of the Beavers to the next level, but I had plenty of help from Mellenbruch and former staff writer Mike Kraft, who pitched in every time I needed some assistance or couldn’t be two places at once.

I would be remiss not to mention Michael Linnell, MSU’s sports information director (a former MDN sports editor!). I’m confident there isn’t a better SID in NCAA Division II athletics. His sports information staff – including current graduate assistant Kurt Miller, former grad assistant James Kiekhaefer and many student assistants – have been invaluable to me. Minot State’s student-athletes have been a real joy to work with, too.

No one keeps busier than MSU Athletic Director Rick Hedberg. Seriously, I’m not sure when he sleeps. He’s been a saint for dealing with me, though, especially during the Todd Hoffner ordeal. I’m not sure I’ll ever again cover a story that wild. Hedberg was so professional through the whole situation. I’m a little upset, though, that the new press box at Herb Parker Stadium will be unveiled TWO WEEKS after a leave. That’s just cruel.

One of my best experiences here has been covering high school sports, and I’ve been lucky to have dealt with some extremely mature and stand-up student-athletes. Not to mention successful. This has been a banner year – literally – for our coverage area. And a special shout-out to Bishop Ryan’s 2013-14 football team, 2013-14 and 2014-15 girls basketball teams and 2014 softball team, Our Redeemer’s Christian School’s 2014 volleyball team, Rugby’s 2014-15 boys basketball team and all of Minot High’s teams I’ve had the opportunity to cover extensively. It’s been my pleasure.

Thank you, lastly, to the readers for embracing me and making me feel welcome in Minot. I hope you’ll keep in touch. My Twitter handle (@ryanholmgren) will remain the same, and you can email me at RyanDHolmgren@gmail.com. And if you find yourself near Laramie, don’t be a stranger.

Ryan Holmgren was the sports editor at The Minot Daily News.