BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The goal of the North Iowa Bulls program is to develop its players and personnel and move them on to higher levels in the sport of hockey. The hope is that once they get there, they excel and continue to thrive long after they’ve taken off the North Iowa sweaters for the last time.
Three former Bulls have gotten the “excel at the higher level” part down pat, earning all-conference honors this season in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Mario Bianchi, Brett Gravelle and Tommy Stang were all chosen to the all-MIAC first team this season, after an outstanding 2018-19 campaign for each.
Bianchi was the top scorer among Bulls alumni in the MIAC this season, posting 14 goals and 19 assists. His 33 points on the season ranked third in the conference. The Concordia senior closes out his NCAA career with 91 points in 98 games. His stop in Mason City was one among several at the junior level, including 52 in the North American Hockey League.
Gravelle’s name is etched in the North Iowa record books, and is likely to be for some time. His 57 goals during the 2015-16 season remains the North Iowa single-season record, and his 30 power play goals is the franchise’s career record. His 29 points for St. Thomas ranked sixth in the league this past season, and his 18 goals ranked second. This season was his second straight on the all-MIAC awards list.
Stang was a top-15 scorer this season, notching 21 points for the St. Mary’s University Cardinals in Winona. His 13 goals was tied for seventh in the conference. He began his junior career with the Bulls in the 2015-16 season before playing his second year of juniors in Manitoba and in the Superior International Junior Hockey League.
Narrowly left off the MIAC all-conference balloting was another North Iowa alumnus, Johnny Panvica, who tied for eighth in the conference with 26 points. 21 of those came on assists, ranking fourth.
The North Iowa Bulls have seen more than 100 former players move on to play for college programs, including more than 70 who made their college commitments while in a Bulls uniform.