MASON CITY, Iowa – North Iowa Bulls head coach and general manager Todd Sanden knew he had a challenge on his hands this past season, as the Bulls moved back into the NA3HL’s rugged West Division. How would his team fare in what has become widely known as the toughest and deepest grouping in all of Tier III junior hockey?
Turns out the Bulls did just fine – North Iowa won 37 of its 55 games this past year, finishing among the final four at the Fraser Cup national tournament late last month.
Being able to put together a team that can accomplish that tends to turn some heads, and garner some hardware. The North American 3 Hockey League made that official Thursday, awarding Sanden its General Manager of the Year honor. It’s the second year in a row and the fourth year overall that Sanden has been so honored by the league.
North Iowa closed out the regular season with a 32-12-3 record, and bumped its final record to 37-15-3 by the end of the Fraser Cup tournament. Six Bulls players have made college commitments for next year, plus an NCAA Division I commitment from alumnus Seth Eisele. Six more North Iowa players have earned North American Hockey League tenders for next season.
“You look at kids in that last month of the season, they were focused on our team’s direction, and their individual play to help our team be successful,” said Sanden. “We had plenty of kids going on college visits after that Fraser Cup wrapped up. You saw several more kids make those decisions in the upcoming weeks (after the tournament).”
Two North Iowa Bulls players earned divisional awards from the league as well. First-year defenseman Harrison Stewart was chosen to the all-West Division list, and rookie forward Konnor Carlson earned the West Division’s Community Service Award.
Season tickets are now available for 2019-20, the ninth season of North Iowa Bulls hockey. Early-bird discounts are available through May 1. For more information on North Iowa Bulls season tickets, click here.