3View: Mason City Toros | North American Tier III Hockey League | NA3HL
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3View: Mason City Toros

August 29, 2023

The 3View series will feature an in-depth look into all NA3HL teams in preparation for the 2023-24 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 2023-24 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 2022-23 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.

Mason City Toros

Head Coach: Mark Hicks (1st Season)

2022-23 Record: 47 GP, 30-16-1, 61 pts. (3rd in West)

2022-23 Leading Scorer: Carter Newpower (69 points)

2023 Playoffs: Lost to Alexandria in the West Division Semi-Finals, 2 games to 1

2023-24 Division: West Division

In the last 10 years or so, the Mason City Toros have been forging their legacy with a storied history that dates back to the 2011-12 season. Since then, they have added four championships to their name, which includes their most recent in 2021. The past two seasons have seen them come ever so close to returning to the Fraser Cup Finals, and Head Coach Mark Hicks who is stepping into the head coaching role after years of serving as an assistant, is determined to guide the Toros back to the summit.

The 2022-23 season had its ups and down, however they finished with a respectable 30-16-1 record, good enough for third place in the fiercely competitive West Division. Despite their efforts, they fell short of the Fraser Cup Championship for the second year in a row, following their victorious run in 2021. Coach Hicks, who brings a wealth of experience from his time as an assistant with the team since its inaugural season in 2011-12, acknowledges the unrelenting strength of the West Division, which is only going to get tougher as they welcome the Rochester Grizzlies to their division.

"The West division, in my opinion, has always been the strongest in the league. Every game is a grind, and every night is a battle. Adding Rochester makes the division even tougher, but that only makes it better and adds to the tradition all the teams have built in the West,” said Hicks. The West Division's reputation for producing college commitments, tender signings, and call-ups emphasizes the level of competition that exists within the division.

Reflecting on the lessons of the past two years, Coach Hicks remains persistent in his commitment to excellence. "We all want to get back to the Fraser Cup and win again. That has been the bar set with this franchise since day one. We believe we can compete in the West each and every night and contend for the division title as well." However, his focus extends beyond championships; he places great emphasis on the individual development of each player, recognizing that success at the next level, be it college or higher-tier junior hockey, is a vital part of the journey.

As the Toros prepare for the 2023-24 season, Hicks shared some notable returners who are expected to play crucial roles. “We have Logan Schwartzhoff and Easton Tok providing leadership from the defensive corps. Both are defense first, but we expect them to contribute offensively as well. Luke Robertson will be our leader upfront. Robbie is just a great leader on the ice and in the room and he plays hard every shift. I look for him to get quite a few college looks throughout the year.”

With Coach Hicks at the helm, they seek to reclaim their place among the league's best, driven by a strong core, and a desire to get back to their championship ways. Mason City kicks their season off Friday, September 15th against the Minnesota Loons, and will greet their fans on home ice just a week later against the Alexandria Blizzard.

Next Up: Mid Cities Jr. Stars

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