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3View: North Iowa Bulls

September 1, 2018
The 3View series will feature an in-depth look into all NA3HL teams in preparation for the 2018-19 season, with two teams being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season. 3View goes in-depth into each NA3HL team and will include interviews with all the head coaches in the NA3HL, as they provide fans with their expectations and outlook for the 2018-19 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 2017-18 season and how each team fared and what they accomplished.  Best of all, 3View will provide the fans of the NA3HL with an inside look at their favorite team and what to expect.
North Iowa Bulls
2017-18 Record: 39-4-4, 82 pts. (1st in the Central Division)
2018 Playoffs: Lost to the La Crosse Freeze in the Central Division Finals, 2 games to 0
Head Coach: Todd Sanden
2018-19 Division: West
The North Iowa Bulls played their first season in the NA3HL in 2011-2012. Located in Mason City, Iowa the Bulls have finished 1st place in their respective division for the last 6 seasons. In those 6 seasons, the Bulls have won 3 championships. 
After dominating the Central Division during the regular season, the Bulls were upset by the La Crosse Freeze in the Division Finals.
While the finish to the season was very disappointing, Head Coach and General Manager Todd Sanden says it was a learning experience, and he is excited for the challenge of getting back to the Division Finals in the new season.
“Losing in the Division Finals taught many lessons. The most important being to never underestimate your opponent,” Sanden said. “We will be more focused, dedicated, and committed team for the duration of the season this year.”
Along with being one of the best teams in the NA3HL a season ago, the Bulls also lead the entire league in NAHL call ups. 
Sanden indicated that last year was a banner year for the Bulls in player promotions.
“We had 8 players called up to the NAHL. Typically, players get called up for practices, but our guys got the call to suit up and make appearances,” Sanden said. “Also, it was an outstanding season for players earing college opportunities with 14 active players nabbing college hockey opportunities.”
Sanden also emphasized that players rising to the challenge and moving onto higher levels is a Bulls tradition and hopes to keep that going for the foreseeable future.
“Players in North Iowa have embraced the development model and have been rewarded by it.”
When it comes to winning, North Iowa has had no shortage of success. However, winning games isn’t the only aspect that Sanden and his staff are focused on during the season.  
The constant process of helping their players move on to superior opportunities is just as prideful for the Bulls organization. However, Sanden noted that the biggest key will always be the effort the actual players put into it. 
“We spend considerable amount of time contacting NAHL and College coaches for our players. We do some of the homework for our guys by keeping the pulse of the needs for teams around us,” Sanden said. “The biggest key to player advancement is through the players themselves. When you get skilled, hardworking, motivated players they take care of the biggest part of the process.”
As the 2018-2019 season approaches, the Bulls will be in a complete rebuild mode after losing so many key players a season ago.  They will also be in a new division, the West, fortifying it as the toughest division in the league.
Sanden indicated there will be great number of opportunities for the rookies coming in and is leaning on his few veteran players to step up their leadership.
“We will be young, but should be skilled enough to compete every night,” Sanden said. “With only 5 returners, Rookies will get the chance to make an immediate impact on our team. Of course, we have great expectations of our veteran players and expect them to lead and set the pace.”
The Bulls will start the new season on road against the Peoria Mustangs on Saturday, September 15th.
Next up in the 3View series: Northeast Generals
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