MASON CITY, Iowa – The Mason City Toros are just two months away from beginning their inaugural season in the North American 3 Hockey League, and the stage is set for the team’s very first night on the ice.
The Toros have announced their regular-season schedule for their inaugural 2021-22 campaign, which will consist of 47 games. 22 of those games will be played at the Mason City Multipurpose Arena, with 22 true road games and three games on neutral ice at the NA3HL Showcase. Those contests will be played at the National Sports Center Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota from December 20-22, with opponents and game times to be announced during the season.
The Toros’ momentous first “night” on home ice will actually be a day game, on Saturday, September 25 as part of a doubleheader with the Toros’ North American Hockey League sister club, the North Iowa Bulls. The Alexandria Blizzard will venture into the Mason City Multipurpose Arena to get the season started, and will face the Toros again the following afternoon.
A new rivalry gets off the ground the following weekend, as Mason City makes the trip to Sauk Rapids, Minnesota for a Friday-Saturday set against the Granite City Lumberjacks. North Iowa and Granite City faced each other 81 times in 10 seasons before the Bulls’ elevation to the NAHL this offseason, and the teams have combined for 13 division titles (with the Bulls winning three in the Central Division) and seven NA3HL championships. Granite City closes out the month with a two-day return trip to the Mason City Multipurpose Arena.
In fact, October is full of milestone matchups for the Toros, including the team’s first look at the defending NA3HL Fraser Cup runners-up as the Rochester Grizzlies come to Mason City on Friday, October 8. That home tilt is followed by a Toros road trip to the Med City the following evening.
The following weekend, the Toros get together for a West Division Finals rematch of sorts against the Willmar WarHawks. The WarHawks will host the first of those matchups on Friday, October 15, followed by Willmar’s visit to Mason City the next afternoon.
The other new face in the West Division crowd, the Minnesota Loons, will head to Mason City the following weekend for two weekend tilts. The Loons are taking the place of the former Breezy Point North Stars in the West Division, after the North Stars went on hiatus for the 2020-21 season. New Ulm will be the last team to get its first look at the Toros, hosting Mason City on November 5 and 6.
With the West Division’s return to a six-team format, the schedule is balanced with eight games against each of the Toros’ five divisional opponents, plus four games against the Grizzlies. The Toros are taking North Iowa’s place in the NA3HL, and are taking on the task of defending the Bulls’ 2021 West Division title and Fraser Cup national championship.
The Toros’ first schedule is tilted heavily in favor of early-season home games, with eight of their 22 games at the Mason City Multipurpose Arena scheduled to be played before the end of October. Nine of the Toros’ first 13 games are on home ice – in fact, Mason City’s home schedule will reach its halfway point in mid-November, before playing just one home game in December and three in January.
It’s still a very favorable schedule in terms of weekend dates, with eight home games to be played on Friday evenings, and 11 to be played on Saturdays. Two games – September 26 and November 14, both against Alexandria – will be played on Sundays, with a November 4 tilt against Willmar to be played on a Thursday evening.
Five of the Toros’ Saturday dates will be afternoon contests, played as doubleheaders with the Bulls. The Toros games on those days are scheduled for a 3 p.m. puck drop, in order to finish their games and clear the arena in time for the Bulls to begin their game at 7:30.
Also part of the league schedule this year are the NA3HL’s annual Top Prospects event, which will take place alongside the NAHL’s Top Prospects showcase on February 7-8, 2022 at a venue to be announced. The NA3HL will then finish its season with the Fraser Cup Championship Tournament, which crowns the NA3HL’s playoff champion. That event will be held from March 24-28, 2022, in St. Louis, Missouri.
Mason City Toros season tickets are on sale now, with extra incentives for fans who purchase North Iowa Bulls season tickets for the 2021-22 NAHL season. For additional information, call 641-423-4625, visit www.masoncitytoros.com, or follow the team’s new social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.