“Bruce and I hit it off. We have the same philosophies on how to develop the game and kids,” said Witta, a former Minnetonka High School captain who owns a marketing company in Bloomington. “He asked what I planned to do next, and I said, ‘What I’d really like to do is own my own team.’ He looked at me and goes, ‘Find us a team, and I’m in.’ ”
A week later, Witta called Boudreau and said, “I found a team.’ ”
“He goes, ‘What?’ ” Witta said, laughing. “I said, ‘I found us a team, and we have to move really fast or we’ll miss this season.’ He goes, ‘Slow down, slow down. I haven’t even talked to my wife yet.’ Long story short, we closed at the end of May.”
The expansion team — which is owned by Boudreau and his wife, Crystal, and three minority owners including coach and GM Witta — is in Coon Rapids and will debut its 44-game schedule at home Sept. 22. The Blue Ox will be in the league’s nine-team Midwest West Division, which includes four other teams (in Forest Lake, Blaine, Owatonna and Hudson) within a fairly short drive.
The Blue Ox will hold open tryouts for 17- through 20-year-olds Saturday and Sunday from noon-2 p.m. at the Coon Rapids Ice Center. Boudreau will be in attendance evaluating talent from the stands, signing autographs and “being Bruce,” Witta quipped.
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