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Once Jared McIntosh Ended Up in North Dakota, National Championships Followed

By Steve Drumwright, 02/16/24, 11:15AM MST


McIntosh has won a national title with Minot State University as a player and a coach

Minot State coach Jared McIntosh standing on the ice with a stick

Jared McIntosh’s hockey path is one less traveled.

A native of Northern California, his love of hockey began at an early age and took him to Alaska and Manitoba before finally finding a home in Minot, North Dakota.

McIntosh, now 37 years old, is an assistant coach for the Minot State men’s hockey team, a club team that won the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division 1 national championship in the 2022-23 season.

And while he is still a California guy at heart, still rooting on some level for all his childhood pro teams, Minot is the perfect place for him — even if the closest pro team is eight hours away.

“(Minot) is very small knit, everybody knows everyone,” McIntosh said. “For me, it's a great place to raise a family. It's big enough where it has everything that we need, but still small enough where everybody knows everybody.”

Born in Pacific Grove, California, an area better known for golf much less hockey, McIntosh really got into roller hockey and ice hockey when his family moved a little north to Gilroy, the self-proclaimed “Garlic Capital of the World.” The family moved again, heading to Fairfield — an hour northeast of San Francisco — when his grandparents got sick.

It was in Fairfield where his love of hockey really blossomed. He played in the San Jose Jr Sharks organization and enjoyed lots of roller hockey. As a 19-year-old, McIntosh played for the Alaska Avalanche in the North American Hockey League for a season. The next year he joined the Winkler Flyers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.

After suffering a knee injury while playing for Winkler, it appeared his competitive career may be over. He returned to Fairfield and played in an adult league in nearby Vacaville when he was asked a question that would eventually change his life dramatically.

“Do you want to win a national championship?”

The query was posed by a couple guys who played for a junior college team, Minot State-Bottineau, less than 20 miles south of the U.S.-Canada border with a population of just over 2,000. 

The obvious answer for McIntosh was yes.

“The gentleman who sent me there from California said it would be the best time of my life,” McIntosh said. “He was not wrong.”

Bottineau won the third of four straight NJCAA national championships in McIntosh’s only season there (2008-09). After that triumph, McIntosh returned to Fairfield and was back playing in a men’s league.

McIntosh had buddies who called about playing club hockey at Minot State, a four-year school that has been a rival of Bottineau despite the smaller school being a junior college. At first, McIntosh rebuffed the offers, but heeventually decided to visit. Once there, he was sold. 

He played at Minot State from 2010-14, winning a national championship in 2013. During that time, he met the woman who became his wife.

“So, I’m still here in North Dakota,” McIntosh said.

Seven years after his last game with the Beavers, Minot State called McIntosh when one of the two assistant positions suddenly popped up. 

Last season, McIntosh added a second ACHA national championship to his accomplishments at Minot State. McIntosh admits that this one came with a little more emotion.

“That was one of the best feelings ever as a coach,” McIntosh said. “I got to win one as a player and you're young and you don't really get it. Now as a coach and as a parent, to see those kids work so hard and you're rewarded at the end, it was one of the best feelings ever.”

The national championship led to a unique experience for a club team, asMinot State played exhibition games against two NCAA Division I teams this season. The Beavers, the ACHA’s No. 1 team at the time, lost to 20th-ranked Colorado College 7-1 on Dec. 29 and fifth-ranked Denver 9-3 on Dec. 30.

The score lines didn’t flatter the Beavers, but the chance to play top NCAA competition meant a ton to someone with as many ties to Minot State as McIntosh.

“I, as a Minot State alum, never thought we'd be in that position,” McIntosh said. “Well, then you hear all the chatter around town — it's going to be a waste of everyone's time, we're not going to compete, this that and the other. Granted, we did not win, but that's the first time we have come out of the weekend where we got swept and I was proud of the effort that we put forward. Our guys never quit.”

When you see McIntosh on the bench, he makes an impression for a couple reasons. First is he wears a bowtie during one game of a weekend series.

“It was just something different,” he said. “I kind of wanted to stand out without standing out.”

The other is because he is Black. One report had the number of Black NHL players in the 2022-23 season at 34. While the number of eyes noticing McIntosh is much smaller in Minot, he knows he can still have a tremendous impact beyond his sons Anthony, 19, and Camden, 7.

“I hope — just like me growing up, you're always trying to look up to somebody — that for young African American, African Canadian kids just to see the guy on the bench or a guy on the ice, like now you have someone to look up to,” McIntosh said. “I don't see myself as being a role model on this, that and the other, but at the same time, I would love for every kid to play hockey. Doesn't matter Black, white, green, purple. But if you see other people that look like you doing it, it makes you feel more comfortable.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

Black History Month is observed in February and celebrates the rich cultural heritage, triumphs and adversities that are an indelible part of our country's history.

To learn more about Black History Month visit

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