MASON CITY, Iowa – Millions across the nation will travel for this Thanksgiving holiday. Some will travel short distances, while others will spend a great deal of time in transit. Two North Iowa Bulls players will fall among the latter, after being called up to the North American Hockey League early Tuesday.
Forward Lucas Wahlin and defenseman Sean Sullivan will head to the opposite end of the league map for the holiday weekend. Wahlin will head to New York to join the Jamestown Rebels, while Sullivan is off to Alaska to join the Kenai River Brown Bears.
Wahlin joins a Jamestown team trying to stay in playoff position as the halfway mark of the NAHL season approaches. The Rebels are just 8-15-0-2 going to the holidays, but are just four points out of fourth place in the seven-team division. The Woodbury, Minnesota native stands alone atop the Bulls’ goal-scoring leaderboard with 16, and his 32 points ranks second on the roster.
“It’s a great opportunity to play against skilled players at a higher-paced level of hockey,” said Wahlin. “It’s also a great opportunity to get looks from colleges and other high-end hockey organizations. I’m looking forward to meeting a new group of guys and playing the game I love in front of hundreds of fans.”
Sullivan will head west to join a Brown Bears team that is the talk of the league at Thanksgiving, with a 10-game winning streak and sitting seven points in front of Fairbanks for the Midwest Division lead. He has been nearly a point-per-game producer for the Bulls, appearing in all 21 games for North Iowa and yielding 18 points.
He’ll join a team with a man behind the bench who knows the Bulls organization well. Kevin Murdock was hired as the Brown Bears’ head coach this past offseason after serving for three years on the North Iowa coaching staff under Todd Sanden.
“This came on very short notice, but I’m excited for a new experience and a chance to see a different part of the country,” said Sullivan.
The two join a group of almost three dozen players who have appeared in the North American Hockey League after suiting up for the Bulls. Eight of those players eventually made their way to the NCAA Division I level, with three currently on Division I rosters.
“Both of these players have excelled in the early goings of the NA3HL season, and both are team leaders at their positions,” said Sanden. “I am excited for their opportunity to get game experience in the NAHL.”
Two Bulls players have already landed in the NAHL this season. Dalton Saltness was called up for the NAHL Showcase, appearing for the Bismarck Bobcats in September. Zachary Simon also earned a call-up at the beginning of November, joining the Lone Star Brahmas ahead of the start of the Orono High School season.
The North Iowa Bulls congratulate Lucas Wahlin and Sean Sullivan on their North American Hockey League call-ups, and wish them continued success in the NAHL.