MASON CITY, Iowa — As the North Iowa Bulls enter a new era, a new owner will have a chance to build on the team’s legacy. Sports operations firm F&S Management has taken over sole ownership of the franchise, with the sale officially taking effect Friday. F&S takes the reins after an eight-year run under CSH International, who first brought the NA3HL to Mason City in 2011.
F&S Management’s takeover of the team also comes at a pivotal time for the Bulls and the North Iowa region, with the Bulls scheduled to begin play by the end of 2019 in Mason City’s multi-purpose arena currently under construction. Fans will enjoy the Bulls beginning of the 2019-20 season at their longtime home in the North Iowa Ice Arena before transitioning downtown upon completion of the new arena, a centerpiece of the River City Renaissance project.
“All of us at F&S are thrilled to join the Mason City community at such an exciting moment,” says Alberto Fernandez, a California-based businessman and the Bulls’ new Majority Owner. “We are dedicated not only to continuing the team’s winning tradition, but we will work closely in partnership with fans, City officials, area businesses and the local youth hockey organization to make everyone part of the Bulls family.”
As part of the purchase, F&S Management also acquired the North American Hockey League’s Amarillo Bulls. Fernandez’s leadership team includes Silicon Valley tech executive Robert Sweeney as Minority Owner and Chief Operating Officer Tyler Shaffar, who worked for the NHL’s San Jose Sharks for 15 years before joining F&S. The firm has successfully operated a twin-rink ice facility in the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly a decade that has included the launch and rapid growth of a local youth hockey program. Under the new ownership, North Iowa residents will enjoy even more community outreach through various on-ice clinics and skating events in partnership with Mason City Youth Hockey.
“As we move forward with Mr. Fernandez and his team at F&S Management, I look forward to continuing with the same expectations we have carried through this point with our franchise,” said North Iowa head coach Todd Sanden. “I’ve had opportunities to meet with Alberto in person and conversed with him many times on the phone. Alberto has expressed an increased interest in not only growing the North Iowa Bulls franchise, but also hockey in the North Iowa area.”
“On behalf of everyone in Mason City, I want to welcome the new owners of the great North Iowa Bulls,” adds Mason City mayor Bill Schickel. “We are very excited about this partnership. I am also very much looking forward to a new era with the North Iowa Bulls as a key attraction in our new downtown arena.”
The team is celebrating its final games in “The Barn” with the slogans and social media hashtags of #TheFinalCountdown and #BringDownTheBarn. The last home-opening bash at the “Barn” on October 4 against the Willmar WarHawks will feature a pregame tailgate party, a postgame skate, free koozies with all paid adult admissions and more. 2019-20 season tickets, and single-game tickets for all of the team’s final 11 games in the “Barn” are available now by calling 641-423-4625 or clicking here.