MASON CITY, Iowa – With 40 North American Hockey League games under his belt, Bulls forward Carter Wagner has been there and done that at the Tier II level.
For now, though, he’s made himself right at home in his return to North Iowa.
Wagner returned last week after starting the 2019-20 season with the NAHL’s Odessa Jackalopes, signing a tender with the ‘Lopes in late January last season. The Lino Lakes, Minnesota native played the first half of last season with the Minnesota Magicians, before flourishing immediately upon joining the Bulls roster. His two goals in the opening weekend against eventual division finalist Alexandria immediately showed head coach Todd Sanden just what he had to work with.
“Carter is a pretty offensively dynamic player,” said Sanden. “When he’s playing a 200-foot game for us, he has the potential to be a pretty dominant player.”
More than 30 Bulls players, including Wagner, have suited up for an NAHL team after appearing in a North Iowa uniform. That includes his brief jump to Odessa last March – he didn’t score in either game against the Shreveport Mudbugs, but made the most of his audition in front of then-head coach Greg Gatto and his staff.
This year, Wagner played three games for new head coach Todd Watson, including an exhibition game against the U.S. National Team Development Program’s Under-17 team at the NAHL Showcase. He did not score a point in those three games, but picked right back up where he left off with the Bulls. He notched an assist in an 11-1 win over Willmar on Friday, and tallied a goal in Saturday’s road win over the WarHawks.
“We’re looking for him to compete for us every night, and to be a leader in a lot of different categories,” said Sanden. “We’re looking to him to lead this team into, hopefully, another lengthy postseason.”
Wagner and the Bulls square off with the Breezy Point North Stars this Friday and Saturday at the North Iowa Ice Arena, with both games scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop. Updated news and information on North Iowa Bulls hockey is always available at www.northiowabulls.com, or by following the team on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. To purchase advance tickets to this weekend’s games or any future Bulls home game, call 641-423-4625 or click here.