CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Mason City Toros, proud members of the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL), are pleased to announce that defenseman Matt Kochanowski has signed a North American Hockey League (NAHL) tender with the Corpus Christi IceRays ahead of Wednesday’s NAHL Draft. He becomes the fourth player from the Toros’ 2021-22 roster to tender with an NAHL team, and the second in Mason City Tier III history to sign a tender with the IceRays. North Iowa Bulls standout Marshall Barnes also tendered with the IceRays ahead of the 2016-17 season.
Kochanowski’s tender signing marks another success story in the NAHL’s “Ladder of Development,” playing for the Sioux Falls Power 16-and-under program in the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) during the 2018-19 season and suiting up for the Des Moines Buccaneers 18-and-under squad during the 2020-21 campaign. He excelled in both NAPHL stints, posting 29 points in 47 regular-season and postseason contests.
The Apple Valley, Minnesota native actually made his first appearance on the Mason City Arena ice, joining the Bucs’ 18U squad for a scrimmage against the North Iowa Bulls in January of 2021. That get-together came in the wake of a two-month COVID-related shutdown for Minnesota-based teams that forced a lengthy pause for the Bulls, then the only Iowa-based team in the West Division.
After starting the 2021-22 campaign in Canada, Kochanowski returned to the United States and became an immediate impact player on the blue line for head coach Nick Bruneteau’s club. He registered points in five of his first six NA3HL contests and picked up his first Toros goal on January 8 in a win over the Willmar WarHawks. He would close out the season with four goals and 19 assists in 26 regular-season games, and added an assist in the Toros’ run to the West Division Finals.
Kochanowski now brings his two-way talents to a Corpus Christi club that finished seventh in the South Division in 2021-22, returning to the ice after going dark for the 2020-21 season in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A tender is a contract, of sorts, a player signs announcing his intentions to play for that particular NAHL team and that NAHL team only. Once a player signs a tender with an NAHL team, his playing rights belong to that team within the NAHL and he may not be recruited by any other NAHL team. Kochanowski’s tender signing also removes him from consideration for Wednesday’s NAHL Draft.
The Mason City Toros congratulate Matt Kochanowski on his tender signing with the Corpus Christi IceRays, and wish him continued success as he looks to take the next step in his hockey career.