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Minotauros’ Warnert commits to St. Thomas

Ryan Ladika/MDN Blaine Warnert takes part in a Tuesday morning practice at Maysa Arena ahead of Minot's May 7 matchup with the Bismarck Bobcats.

With the Minot Minotauros approaching the end of their regular season, one of the key players to their playoff push has formalized his post-season plans.

6’5″ forward Blaine Warnert gave a verbal commitment to the University of St. Thomas’ hockey program Sunday night, and the Chaska, Minnesota native will join the squad at a pivotal time for the program.

The Tommies are also bringing in a new head coach, Rico Blasi, to spearhead the program’s transition from Division III to Division I.

“I think it’s going to be sweet,” Warnert said of joining the program during the transition. “That’s kind of how it was in high school, we had a smaller town, and by our junior or senior year we were competing for the state championship, we were a good team. I think that’s going to be cool to bring that over to college and have the same thing happen there.”

Warnert has had his eye on the program for the last six months, and was glad to finally iron out the details. He has not yet signed his official National Letter of Intent, but hopes to complete that last step in the coming days.

The 20-year-old skater was originally interested in the program due to its proximity to home, and he has a cousin who also attended the school. The idea of helping transform a smaller team into a national championship-winning powerhouse was also quite attractive, and he hopes to be a key cog in reaching that goal in Minnesota.

“I envision my role to be a big power forward and to help the team win every night, is the big thing,” Warnert said. “If I bring my mind and my body, and work as hard as I can, it can be something great.”

Warnert will also study business finance during his time that is not spent on the ice, which was another selling point for him.

“I’ve been on their campus a bunch, and they have great education programs there as well as hockey, and it’s all around a great fit,” he added.

During his time in Minot this season, Warnert has recorded 25 points in 46 games, including 14 goals and 11 assists. Six of his 14 scores have been of the game-winning variety, and he recently notched his second hat trick of the season in Minot’s last game May 1, a 3-2 overtime victory against the Austin Bruins. His first came in Minot’s 6-2 rout of the Minnesota Wilderness April 9.

“My time here has been huge,” he said. “I’ve only been here for seven months or so and it’s been a blast. I know I would have never been going to St. Thomas if it weren’t for everyone here in Minot, so I’m super thankful for everything they’ve done for me, and hopefully we can go on a big playoff run here.”

Entering their May 7 contest against Bismarck, the Minotauros sit one point shy of clinching a postseason berth. If the current standings hold, Minot would also face the Bobcats in the first round of the playoffs. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. Friday night from Maysa Arena.

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