MASON CITY, Iowa – The North Iowa Bulls couldn’t have accomplished all they did last season without putting the puck in the back of the net. Those goals don’t just happen, though – it takes many other qualities – grit, instinct and leadership, just to name a few – from the entire team to make even one goal possible.
That’s where Jordan Roo and Justin Callahan come in, as the two Bulls return for their second seasons on the ice in North Iowa. Roo got off to a red-hot start a year ago, posting three multi-point games before Veterans’ Day. A two-goal, two-assist effort against the Willmar WarHawks was the highlight of a big first half of the season.
“I’m excited to come back,” said Roo. “I know we’ve got good returners coming back from a team that did very well last year, so I think we have a good chance of doing the same this year, hopefully with a championship.”
Even though Roo’s production cooled in the second half of the season, the former Benilde-St. Margaret’s High School standout may have saved his very best work for the postseason. He played in all eight postseason games, posting four points. His goal against the Helena Bighorns capped an 8-2 rout in the Fraser Cup tournament and helped send the Bulls to within two games of a national title.
“Roo was one of our more consistent forwards down the stretch and into the playoffs,” said head coach Todd Sanden. “His line contributed to our late-season spurt and was productive during the playoffs.”
Callahan didn’t come up as big in the scoring column, tallying just three points on the year. Both of his goals last season came in the month of December, including the game-winning goal in the NA3HL Showcase against the Northeast Generals.
“Last year was my first year away from home, but I quickly learned how much North Iowa welcomes their players,” said Callahan. “Last year was full of accomplishments, and it all starts with having strong team chemistry. I’d love to see how we develop not only as players, but as a family.”
The Algonquin, Illinois native came up big in other ways in 2018-19, though. With a +17 plus/minus rating, he was part of the setup crew for a number of big moments in the Bulls’ season. His line played a key role in building an early lead in a 7-0 win over Willmar in early February, and he also helped to set up back-to-back goals that helped the Bulls take control of a mid-January matchup at Alexandria.
“Callahan is a defenseman who will be expected to up his minutes this year through consistency and stinginess in the defensive zone,” said Sanden. “Both guys should see bigger roles as veterans of the Bulls.”
They’ll play those major roles for a team looking to raise the bar this season, after setting it high again a year ago. The 2018-19 Bulls finished with a 37-15-3 record, reaching the Fraser Cup national tournament for the sixth time in seven years.
Season tickets are still available for the Bulls’ ninth season on the ice in North Iowa by calling the front office at 641-423-4625, or by clicking here. The latest news and information on North Iowa Bulls hockey are always available by visiting northiowabulls.com, and through the Bulls’ social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.