MASON CITY, Iowa – The Mason City Toros, proud members of the North American 3 Hockey League, are excited to announce that forward Sota Isogai has been called up to the North Iowa Bulls of the North American Hockey League. Isogai was initially called up to join the Bulls for their recent game at the St. Cloud Norsemen, his 100th game in a junior uniform, and remained with the team this past weekend for their home-and-home set with the Austin Bruins.
The 2001-born native of Nagano, Japan had also registered his 100th point the night before his call-up, scoring two goals including the last of the Toros’ 8-3 win at the Minnesota Loons. Through 99 NA3HL appearances, he has amassed 51 goals and 49 assists, including 12 goals and 19 helpers this season.
“It’s a huge milestone for Sota, obviously. We’re super thrilled for him,” said Toros head coach Nick Bruneteau. “It was awesome for him. Everybody on this team has aspirations of playing at higher levels, and for a guy like Sota, who has been here and in his third year, to be rewarded for that is awesome. He deserved that game, he earned that game and he earned a few more this weekend.”
The call-up to North Iowa marks a return to the Bulls for Isogai, who played for them for two seasons in the NA3HL. When the Amarillo Bulls moved to Mason City during the past offseason, they took on the North Iowa Bulls moniker, while the NA3HL team was rebranded to the Toros. He helped lead North Iowa to NA3HL West Division championships each of those two years, and was a major factor in the Bulls’ run to a Fraser Cup championship in April.
“Sota is really easy to coach,” said North Iowa head coach and general manager Todd Sanden. “You take away the initial language barrier when he first arrived in Mason City and now his English has come along very well, and he’s a player who plays hard and plays smart. He has a great stick, he plays with a bit of physicality and he’s pretty good around the net. We’ve looked for Sota to come in and provide stability on that fourth line, get pucks deep and pressure physically.”
With his call-up, Isogai also becomes the 11th player from Japan to play in the North American Hockey League – five of the previous Japanese players in the NAHL have gone on to play professional hockey, while former Bull Kohei Sato is currently on the roster at NCAA Division I Bentley University.
The Mason City Toros congratulate Sota Isogai on his call-up to the North American Hockey League, and wish him further success as the 2021-22 season continues.