SVEG, Sweden – North Iowa alumnus Timothy Santopoalo is one of seven former Bulls in the professional ranks, but there isn’t an alum on the ice this season who has had the kind of success that “Santo” has had in his first year of pro hockey.
As the 2019 portion of the Swedish Division 2 season hits full speed (the fourth level of professional hockey in Sweden), Santopoalo has pulled away as Svegs IK’s top scorer, with 18 goals and 12 assists in just 14 games. No other player on the Svegs IK roster has notched more than 16 points this season.
The Roscoe, Illinois native has been dubbed “Super Mario” among the Svegs hockey community, and started his 2019 off with a bang, tallying back-to-back hat tricks this past Saturday and Sunday against Kramfors-Alliansen and AIK Harnosand.
Santopoalo’s 83 goals as a North Iowa Bull from 2012-14 remain the club’s career record, and his NCAA resume included a dozen goals and 17 assists over 74 games at Division III schools Finlandia and Aurora.
With those 30 points, he ranks 32nd in all of Swedish Division 2 hockey, a group that includes almost 2,400 players. The ages of this year’s Svegs IK players vary wildly, from 13-year-old Joel Karlsson to 46-year-old Ronnie Dahlsten. Several have played professionally in America, including number-two and number-three scorers Brett Menton and Jonas Eden.
Svegs IK currently sits at 9-7-1 for the season, ranked sixth out of 11 teams in the Region Norr standings with 27 points. The top five teams advance to Altvaan, the second stage of the Swedish hockey season.
Svegs currently sits four points behind fifth-place Njurunda SK, with two games to go in the first stage and one game in hand on Njurunda SK. Teams receive three points for a regulation win, two points for an overtime win and one for an overtime loss. Up next for Svegs IK is a road game against third-place Kovlands IshF on Saturday at 3 p.m. Swedish time, or 8 a.m. Iowa time.
(Photo credits: Jeff Heinz, Mason City Globe-Gazette, Aurora University athletics)