MASON CITY, Iowa – As the North Iowa Bulls put the 2021-22 season in the rearview mirror, the work continues to mold the roster for the 2022-23 campaign to come. Much remains to be decided with the team’s main tryout camp still on the calendar for mid-July, but the Bulls took a major step toward the new season Wednesday, making six selections in the 2022 North American Hockey League Draft.
The Bulls bookended the draft with goaltending, but packed the middle of their draft board with scoring punch – all four of the selections between North Iowa’s picks in net were forwards, including two with NCAA Division I commitments in hand.
Mason City Toros forward Nik Howell was also selected in the NAHL Draft, going to the Chippewa Steel in the 6th round, with the 151st overall selection. Howell played his first NAHL game with North Iowa in late January, and is from Mason City.
NORTH IOWA SELECTIONS IN THE 2022 NAHL DRAFT
5th Overall – Mitchell Day (G – St. Louis, Mo. – New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs)
North Iowa made no secret as to what the priority was in this year’s draft, going right to the goal with their first selection, a highly-touted St. Louis native who won 29 games in the junior ranks in New Hampshire last season. Day already has ties to the Bulls, backstopping the same St. Louis Blues AAA team that North Iowa forward Hunter Bulger led in scoring in 2019-20. The three-year Kirkwood High School standout has a strong family pedigree in the sport as well, playing for the same Pioneers team that his dad and uncle played for during the 1980s and ’90s.
34th Overall – Landon MacDonald (F – Brighton, Mich. – Muskegon Lumberjacks)
After playing for a Who’s Who of famed hockey programs in the Detroit area, Landon got himself a very good lay of the land in junior hockey last season. MacDonald spent time in the NAHL with the Wichita Falls Warriors and Jamestown Rebels in 2021-22 before climbing the ladder to the United States Hockey League and finishing the season with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, who made it to the Eastern Conference Finals in the Clark Cup playoffs. MacDonald posted seven points in 32 games in his inaugural junior hockey season after suiting up for Little Caesars, Honeybaked and Belle Tire in his AAA days. He’s noted for balancing an impressive shot with a physical nature on the ice, and his own family history in the sport – father Eddie won a USHL title with Omaha in the 1990s, and younger brother Brady got his first taste of junior hockey in the NA3HL this season with Milwaukee. Landon is already committed to Northern Michigan University.
56th Overall – Jacob Terpstra (F – Shelby Township, Mich. – Oakland Jr. Grizzlies)
Terpstra’s name is one that may resonate in junior hockey for quite a while, as a 2005-born forward with four years of junior eligibility ahead. Like MacDonald, he’s also committed to Northern Michigan, and reeled off back-to-back 57- and 61-point seasons at the 15U and 16U levels for the Jr. Grizzlies. He’s also been on the radar of top-level junior hockey clubs, earning a Phase I selection from the Muskegon Lumberjacks in last year’s USHL Draft.
84th Overall – William Johnson (F – Edina, Minn. – Edina H.S.)
The Bulls’ third-round selection wouldn’t be too far from home, hailing from the Twin Cities and spending the last three seasons on perennial power Edina High School’s varsity roster. He’s been nothing if not consistent in those three years, posting 19, 17 and 28 points, respectively – he finished off his prep career with a bang, scoring three goals in consolation-round state tourney wins over Cretin-Derham Hall and Moorhead. “Willy” already has plenty of resources to help him navigate the NAHL waters – older brother Gunnar just finished a two-year run in the NAHL ahead of a college commitment to St. Olaf, and brother Luke recently finished his third season of NCAA Division I hockey with Providence College.
114th Overall – Petr Lukes (F – Strakonice, Czech Republic – Ontario Hockey Academy)
Lukes comes to North Iowa off of a great season with the Ontario Hockey Academy, picking up 29 points in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League last season. He’s made a solid name for himself in his native Czech Republic as well, playing for the HC Motor České Budějovice club at the U16 and U17 levels, and making a few appearances for the Czech national U16 team during the 2018-19 season as well.
121st Overall – Erik Chaffe (G – Cedar Rapids, Iowa – Mason City Toros)
With their final pick in the draft, the Bulls went with a proven commodity in the River City – Erik posted some outstanding numbers in his first junior season in 2021-22, earning 15 wins with the Mason City Toros and leading them to within a win of the Fraser Cup tournament. His 1.97 goals-against average and .934 save percentage also ranked in the top eight leaguewide. Chaffe played four seasons of AAA hockey in the Colorado Thunderbirds program, and originally signed a tender with the El Paso Rhinos before coming back to his home state to play for the Toros.