MASON CITY, Iowa – The North Iowa Bulls offseason has officially hit its “next stage” following Tuesday evening’s NA3HL Draft. Seven players were chosen by the Bulls coaching staff, all of whom have impressive credentials heading into the 2016-17 season.
“The draft went well for us,” says Bulls head coach Todd Sanden. “Look at the kids we got – our first pick played for Omaha [in the NAPHL] and our second pick played in Kenai River [in the NAHL]. He’s the kind of forward that our fans are accustomed to. We’re excited about it.”
Here are the Bulls’ selections from the 2016 NA3HL Draft:
– ROUND 1, PICK 48: Jarett Mari (F, Omaha AAA 18U, NAPHL)
Mari scored four goals with 16 assists with Omaha AAA last year, helping them to a 23-2 record and the top spot in the NAPHL 18U standings. The Fargo native was drafted by Bloomington in the 2014 USHL Draft, and signed an NAHL tender with Amarillo before the 2015-16 season. He was also chosen as a member of last season’s NAPHL 18U All-Academic team.
– ROUND 2, PICK 96: Gunnar Goodmanson (F, Kenai RIver, NAHL)
Goodmanson was a key forward for the Brown Bears last season, notching seven goals and 13 points in his first full NAHL season. As a senior at Buffalo (Minn.) High School he tallied 50 points in 23 games. Goodmanson was pegged for Alaska right from the start of the 2015-16 season, landing with the Brown Bears in the sixth round of last year’s NAHL Entry Draft.
– ROUND 3, PICK 144: Josh Arnold (F, Casper Coyotes, WSHL)
Arnold came to the Coyotes after a two-year run at Roseville (Minn.) High School, where he scored 31 points in 49 games and was an honorable mention all-conference selection in 2014-15 as a senior. During the 2015-16 season in Casper, he notched 28 goals and 37 points in 51 games and led the Coyotes to the WSHL Mountain Division semifinals.
– ROUND 4, PICK 192: Davis Bunz (D, Middleton HS (Wis.))
Middleton has a family pedigree in the sport of hockey, as the son of former Wisconsin Badger Garry Bunz. The younger Bunz played four years for Middleton High School, scoring 41 goals and adding 56 assists over his prep career. He served as a team captain his senior season and enjoyed a breakout year, with 23 goals and 18 assists during the regular season. That was enough to earn him a finalist spot for the American Family Insurance/Wisconsin Hockey Coaches Association boys player of the year award. He also earned a “cup of coffee” in the USHL, playing two games during the 2014-15 season for the Sioux Falls Stampede.
– ROUND 5, PICK 240: Brendan Gysbers (D, Omaha AAA 18U, NAPHL)
Gysbers was the second Omaha AAA player to earn a nod from the Bulls in this year’s NA3HL Draft, joining 18U teammate Jarett Mari on the North Iowa draft board. Gysbers has spent two years in the NAPHL, skating in 2014-15 with the Madison Capitols 18U team and 2015-16 in Omaha. The Fond du Lac, Wis. native played two years at his home high school and posted 14 goals and 23 assists with the Cardinals. His 16U play with the Milwaukee Jr. Admirals in 2013-14 was enough to earn a late-round selection in the Madison Capitols’ first USHL Draft.
– ROUND 6, PICK 288: Zach Benson (D, Spring Lake Park HS (Minn.))
Benson was picked up by the Bulls after a successful four-year career at Spring Lake Park that included 53 points in 92 games. Under his father, Tom, Spring Lake Park reached the Minnesota Class A state tournament for the first time in 2015 and the elder Benson picked up the state’s Class A Coach of the Year award. Like Bunz, Benson also has a lineage in the sport – Tom Benson played college hockey at North Dakota in the 1980s and previously served as an assistant coach at Minnesota State-Mankato.
– ROUND 8, PICK 384: Chase Mickelson (D, Madison Capitols 18U AAA, NAPHL)
The final pick of the NA3HL Draft went right back to the NAPHL, as the Bulls selected their second player with 18U experience in Madison. Mickelson has played for the Capitols’ 18U AAA team for two years, totaling 13 goals and 24 assists and earning a First-Team All-NAPHL 18U slot this past year. His 21 points this past season were third among all NAPHL 18U defensemen and his 16 assists tied for the NAPHL 18U lead among all defensemen. Mickelson signed an NAHL tender with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in January.