MASON CITY, Iowa – As time winds down to the 2022-23 season, the Mason City Toros will spend this coming weekend whittling down their list of hopefuls and take one of their final steps toward the upcoming campaign. The team will hold its annual Main Tryout Camp this weekend at the Mason City Arena, from Friday, August 19 to Sunday, August 21. The Toros will have two teams participating in games at the Main Tryout Camp – two additional teams will also take part, as the Wausau Cyclones and New Ulm Steel bring their players in for a preseason tune-up.
Each team will play four games over the course of the weekend, starting with a pair of contests Friday evening. Admission to the camp is free for spectators, and concession and beer stands will be open throughout the weekend. Fans are invited to use the hashtag #TorosTryout on social media throughout the event as well, as the Toros build excitement for the upcoming campaign.
Last year’s team finished in second place in the NA3HL’s West Division, behind eventual Fraser Cup runner-up Granite City, and came up one loss to the Lumberjacks away from reaching the Fraser Cup championship tournament in their first season under the Toros name.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 19
5:30 – 6:45 p.m. Toros 1 vs. New Ulm
7:00 – 8:15 p.m. Wausau vs. Toros 2
SATURDAY, AUGUST 20
9:00 – 10:15 a.m. Toros 1 vs. Wausau
10:30 – 11:45 a.m. New Ulm vs. Toros 2
4:45 – 6:00 p.m. Toros 1 vs. Toros 2
6:15 – 7:30 p.m. Wausau vs. New Ulm
SUNDAY, AUGUST 21
8:15 – 9:30 a.m. Wausau vs. Toros 2
9:45 – 11:00 a.m. Toros 1 vs. New Ulm
ABOUT THE TEAMS
MASON CITY TOROS
Meet the new group…same as the old group. As the 2021-22 season got underway, the Toros got their first year started with a familiar group of five returners who came back to the River City after bringing the North Iowa Bulls a fourth Fraser Cup title in 2021. All of the team’s top four scorers returned from that championship team, including NA3HL MVP Carter Newpower, who finished just a point shy of the league scoring title with 37 goals and 54 assists. His 91 points set a new standard for West Division players not in their final year of junior eligibility, and he already ranks among the top 10 scorers in Bulls/Toros history. Six players aged out of the junior ranks last season, including goaltender Owen Carlson, who began his junior career in a North Iowa uniform in 2020, and forward Sota Isogai, who has moved on to the pro ranks in Japan with the Asia League’s East Hokkaido Cranes. Another – Jack Campion – played the first half of the season with the Toros before getting the call to the NAHL.
Last year’s inaugural Wausau Cyclones campaign brought up the curtain on a bright future for junior hockey in Marathon County. After an Act I that saw the former RiverWolves top out at just 11 wins in their inaugural season, Act II began with 21 wins and a trip to the postseason for the first time in four years. Gage Vierzba led the way with Wausau’s first 40-point season in three years – he appears poised to lead the way once again for a team that lost only six 2001-born players, none of them goalies. After an outstanding rookie season, Matt Irwin’s four-year-old Wausau junior record of 66 points in a season may be in jeopardy, and he’s likely to have help. Six of the top eight scorers from last year’s team are eligible to return, as the team looks to take the next step with its first winning season in Wausau junior history.
NEW ULM STEEL
2021-22 was a rough season for New Ulm, but look for the Steel to be on the upswing in 2022-23 after a 10-win campaign. Three head coaches led the way for the team last season, starting with Curtis Doell, who was named to the bench as an assistant on July 1 before landing the head coaching position five weeks later. Steel alumnus Erick Bromberg took over interim bench-boss duties in late November, and Alex North would take over as the team’s permanent head coach two months later. North is a familiar face in Mason City, serving as an assistant coach for the Bulls in 2013-14 on the way to a 57-5 regular-season and postseason record. 2003-born forwards Gus Cantwell and Jack Laser took the reins on the forward lines last season with 34 and 31 points, respectively – only five 2001-born players suited up for New Ulm last year, with only three of them finishing the season with the Steel. A lot of returning talent appears lined up to pull on the green-and-black sweaters as the new season gets going.