MINOT, N.D. - Those of you who regularly follow the Minot Minotauros hockey team have probably heard the name Aaron Bliven, or maybe you know Aaron and his mom Michelle.
Over the past few years this young man has forged an indelible bond with the Tauros; to the point where they named him an honorary team captain.
This superfan's story goes back to 1991, the year Aaron was born.
“At that time, we knew that he had a bleed in his brain, which they said could cause cerebral palsy,” said Michelle.
Michelle made a conscious decision about Aaron's life.
“I had kinda made it a goal as his mom that I didn't want his disability to define who he was. I wanted him to be like any other child,” she said.
The Bliven's formed the Dreamcatchers program, a way for Aaron and others with disabilities to play baseball. Then, they had a chance encounter with some Tauros players at the North Dakota State Fair in 2013.
“Aaron started to go to the games, and the team just kind of adopted him,” said Michelle.
The players enjoy all of Aaron's support.
“Aaron wrote us a little something. Your character is more important than how good you are at any sport. Your athleticism is only temporary but your character, the type of person you are, lasts forever. Be humble, be compassionate, grateful, be honest, and put others first," said Austin Koss, Minotauros player.
“Everybody has different gifts that they have to share, and I think Aaron's gifts are gifts that coaches can't teach, and you can't read in rulebooks or playbooks,” said Michelle.
During one game, Aaron took to the ice.
“Oh, it makes me really proud. These are players who have high hopes of going on and playing in higher leagues and in big colleges, and even hoping to go on and, I guess to see the compassion and the kindness that these boys have for Aaron and accepting him really means a lot to me,” Michelle added.
The Tauros take on their rivals the Bismarck Bobcats this weekend.