ODENTON, Md. – From his time at Hill-Murray High School in Minnesota, Bulls defenseman Joey Petronack has been praised for many aspects of his game, not the least of which are his quarterbacking ability on special teams, and his booming slap shot from the blue line.
After a year of honing those – and the rest of his game – with the North Iowa Bulls, Petronack will get his shot at the Tier II level ahead of the 2019-20 campaign, signing a tender earlier this week with the Maryland Black Bears of the North American Hockey League.
The White Bear Lake, Minnesota native spent three years on the Hill-Murray roster, including as a captain last season, and started the season with the Steinbach Pistons of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. However, he joined the Bulls at the beginning of October and got settled in almost immediately, posting an assist in a win at St. Louis in his first appearance. That was merely the first of his 28 points this season, including five goals.
Petronack’s production only ramped up in the heat of the postseason, playing in all eight contests in the West Division playoffs and the Fraser Cup national tournament. His seven assists in the postseason was one behind Jimmy McDermott for the team lead. Coming up big in the clutch is nothing new for Petronack, leading his Pioneers squad to a pair of Minnesota state high school tournaments during his prep career.
The Black Bears recently finished their first NAHL season, closing the 2018-19 campaign with a 16-37-5-2 record and a sixth-place finish in the East Division.
Petronack will not be eligible for the NAHL Draft, as his playing rights in the league shift immediately to Maryland. He is the sixth North Iowa Bulls player to sign an NAHL tender this season, with more than 30 Bulls players reaching the NAHL since the team’s inaugural season in 2011-12. Eight North Iowa alumni have reached the NCAA Division I level in that time.
The North Iowa Bulls congratulate Joey Petronack on his opportunity with the NAHL’s Maryland Black Bears, and wish him the best as he takes his next step in his junior hockey career.