EVANSVILLE, Ind. – North Iowa alumnus Jack Stang won two national championships with the Bulls and made quite a career for himself at St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota. Now, with the Evansville Thunderbolts in a battle for playoff positioning in the Southern Professional Hockey League, Stang is heading to Evansville to see what he can add to the ‘Bolts attack.
Stang has signed an Amateur Tryout agreement with the Thunderbolts, and will join the team for their road trip to Birmingham against the Bulls this weekend. The SPHL’s Amateur Tryout agreement is a three-game contract, meaning Stang will also be eligible to play in next Saturday’s home game against the Pensacola Ice Flyers. However, at that time, he must be either signed to a full contract with the Thunderbolts or released. SPHL Amateur Tryout contracts are often used to evaluate players who have just finished their college careers, and players are paid on a per-game basis during the contract.
After playing his high school hockey at Cretin-Derham Hall and St. Thomas Academy, Stang moved on to a full season with the North American Hockey League’s Brookings Blizzard in 2013-14, notching five points over 48 games.
After starting the following season with the Blizzard and spending another productive half-season playing juniors in Florida, he settled in with the Bulls and provided a late-season lift for head coach Todd Sanden’s team during the 2014-15 campaign. He tallied 17 points over 26 games during the regular season and Silver Cup playoffs, and added two more assists in the USA Hockey national tournament.
The Bulls grabbed the national title in 2015 and won another one the following year, thanks in part to 41 points from Stang during the regular season and postseason.
“Jack was a good player with a lot of skill, so I can see where he’s going to get an opportunity in the pros,” said North Iowa associate head coach Mark Hicks. “He had a big role in our last championship season, playing with [Brett] Gravelle and [Joe] Burgmeier in that last game. I think he’s going to do fine. Hopefully it works out for him.”
After a slow first season at St. Mary’s in which he played only seven games, Stang settled in again and posted 15 points in his sophomore season, including seven goals. He elevated that total to 18 points as a junior, and notched a career-high 27 points this year. His 24 assists were the most for a St. Mary’s Cardinal since Anthony Bohn’s 26 helpers during the 2007-08 campaign. Bohn has since moved on to become an assistant coach for the Maine Mariners of the ECHL. Jack Stang finished just one point behind younger brother Tommy for this year’s team scoring lead.
Stang joins an Evansville team that is not just in the thick of the SPHL’s playoff race, but in a heated battle for third place in the league. The ‘Bolts sit in sixth, but are just three points back of third-place Knoxville with 12 games remaining in the regular season.
The Mendota Heights, Minnesota native is the second North Iowa alumnus to skate in the SPHL this season – 2012-13 Bulls forward Kyle Gonzalez is currently skating for the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs, in his first full season of pro hockey. Stang is set to become the 11th North Iowa alumnus to skate in the pros this season, in six different nations.
The North Iowa Bulls congratulate Jack Stang on signing his first pro contract with the Evansville Thunderbolts, and wish him well as he steps onto the ice in the SPHL.
(photo credit: St. Mary’s University Sports Information)