MASON CITY, Iowa - After a 'Decade of Dominance' in the NA3HL, the North Iowa Bulls returned home Tuesday afternoon as Fraser Cup champions for the fourth time in team history.
A crowd of fans was on hand to welcome the team back to the Mason City Arena. Once the team unloaded their gear from their bus, players and even Coach Todd Sanden signed autographs and took pictures with their loyal supporters.
With the pandemic shaking up the sports world last year and prematurely ending their season, defenseman and team Captain Sean Sullivan says he and the team as motivation to get to the Finals.
"Our first playoff game, our season gets canceled. Everything we worked hard for last year gets canceled. We thought we had to come back and do it for those boys from last year. I think that was our big motivation for us this year."
He notes of the strong team camaraderie.
"A lot of it is team chemistry. The boys are really close in the hockey room, and that translates out on the ice and will help put some pucks in the net."
Through the thick and thin, Sullivan thanks the die-hard fans for showing their avid support each time they hit the ice.
"We love coming in here for home games, seeing everyone go crazy. It means everything that we can bring a championship to this town."
One of those avid fans is Brigett Mitchell, better known as the 'Hockey Grandma.' Since the day the North Iowa Outlaws arrived, she's been a familiar face at games.
"I love the guys. every one of them. I may not know all their names, or which face goes to which name, but they're great kids."
With the relocation of the NAHL's Amarillo Bulls to Mason City next season, she's upbeat for what the new league will mean for the game in North Iowa.
"All of these teams we've been playing for the last 10 years, we won't be playing anymore. But it's exciting because we're getting new players, new teams and it's exciting. I can't wait until it starts."
If someone is wanting to get interested in the sport, she encourages attending a game.
"They'll be hooked."
Season tickets for next season are already on sale.