WATERTOWN, N.Y. – After a dominant season in Sweden’s professional Division 2 circuit, former North Iowa Bull Timothy Santopoalo has returned stateside, joining the Federal Hockey League for the stretch run of the season. Santopoalo has signed on with the Watertown Wolves, becoming the second former North Iowa Bull to land in the American professional ranks.
Santopoalo tore up the Swedish circuit as a member of the fourth-division Svegs IK club this past season, scoring 23 goals and adding 14 assists in just 17 games. Svegs finished with a 9-8-3 record, sixth out of 11 teams in the Region Norr standings of Hockeytvaan, the first stage of the Swedish Division 2 season. The top five teams moved on to Altvaan, or the second stage of the season.
The Roscoe, Illinois native was dubbed “Super Mario” among the Svegs hockey community – his 23 goals put him in third place on the Region Norr leaderboard, while his 37 points ranked fifth. His Swedish season ended with a bang, scoring three goals and tallying an assist in Svegs’s 12-2 win over IFK Stromsund.
His 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. Santopoalo joined the Wolves for their three-game visit to the Carolina Thunderbirds last weekend, picking up a pair of assists as Watertown finished 1-2 for the weekend.
Watertown currently ranks third among the FHL’s six teams, with a 16-18-1 record. The Wolves are looking for a spark heading into the final 21 games of their schedule, having lost 11 of their last 12 contests. The Elmira Enforcers host Santopoalo and the Wolves on Friday night, while Watertown returns home for two games against Elmira Saturday and Sunday.
Seven former North Iowa Bulls are currently active in professional hockey, playing in six different countries. The North Iowa Bulls congratulate Timothy Santopoalo on his signing with the FHL’s Watertown Wolves and wish him the best in his return to the United States.
(Photo credit: Jake Rajewsky, Mason City Globe Gazette)