48 in 24 Series: North Iowa Bulls
August 25, 2016
The 48 in 24 series will feature an in-depth look into all 48 teams in the NA3HL for the 2016-17 season, with new teams being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season. 48 in 24 goes in-depth into each NA3HL team and will include interviews with all 48 head coaches in the NA3HL, as they provide fans with their expectations and outlook for the 2016-17 season, including taking a look at their potential roster and their strengths as a team for the upcoming season. It will also take a look back on the 2015-16 season and how each team fared and what they accomplished. Best of all, 48 in 24 will provide the fans of the NA3HL with an inside look at their favorite team and what to expect.
North Iowa Bulls
2015-16 Record: 42-2-3, 87 pts. (1st in Central Division)
2016 Playoffs: Won the West Division, Won the Silver Cup Championship
Head Coach: Todd Sanden
2016-17 Division: Central
There is no doubt that the North Iowa Bulls had a fantastic and record-breaking year. Coming home with the NA3HL Silver Cup National Championship for the third time in four years is quite the feat. The Bulls are excited to welcome the new teams in the new league structure. They think it provides excellent opportunities to showcase their talents and enjoy the very competitive edge.
Head Coach and General Manager, Todd Sanden claims to have had yet another phenomenal year with the Bulls. “Our team had a veteran laden presence last year and their 50-3-3 record in all NA3HL contests was an amazing feat. The thirteen 1995 birth year players carried our team and produced numbers beyond recent years. Not to diminish the efforts of the rest of the team, we were a team and every guy had a stake in that Silver Cup National Championship,” says Sanden,
He continued…“We were fortunate to play every player on our roster during the divisional or Silver Cup Championships, not many teams can claim that. We learned quite a bit about sharing during the year and what it takes to develop a whole team. Our guys committed to the group and it showed in the end to be worth it,” said Coach Sanden.
Although the Bulls have a refreshingly balanced team due to the age of the players, they are still looking to complete the group with flexible and experienced players. “We will look for those veteran players to take an early leadership role and set expectations for another successful season. We are looking for players to step up at every position so our focus is really on the team and how we can generate confidence in our group to help them be successful,” states Sanden.
When talking about advancing their players, the Bulls talk the talk and walk the walk. “There is seldom a night at the ‘Barn’ without college scouts in attendance,” says Sanden. They pride themselves on moving their players to the next level and even love to boast on their successful players. “Our recent teams have made the case for their return. Our team placed 11 players at the NCAA D3 level and one at the ACHA D1 level from this years’ team. An alum who was tendered by and played in the NAHL the last two years committed to an NCAA D1 school this year,” states Coach Sanden.
The North Iowa Bulls have the same expectations as years past. “We are hopeful to play for a NA3HL Silver Cup National Championship and place as many players in the NAHL and college as possible,” said Sanden. The Bulls have a strong leading force and plan to do nothing different. “Our players drive our program and this year will be no different. Our veterans have the opportunity to lead this group into battle and I trust that they have the courage, confidence, and character to make this year great,” states Coach Sanden.
The Bulls feel very fortunate to live in such a supporting environment that is North Iowa. “Our fans, corporate sponsors, and media have made our time here an incredible experience. Our team takes part in many community volunteer opportunities. Our players volunteer at our local youth center, area schools, the YMCA, the Mason City animal shelter, and several charity events to name a few,” said Sanden. Since the community is so supportive, giving back is the least the Bulls can do. Such presence in the community really gives the players a sense of being a part of something much bigger than themselves. “Part of the maturing process that takes place is realizing how fortunate you are to be playing the game you love. Lending a hand where it is sometimes needed is a great character builder, especially when a smile or a thank you is your reward,” says Coach Sanden.
Next up in the 48 in 24 series: Northeast Generals