North Iowa Bulls
When it comes to the world of minor hockey, there are few teams that command as much respect and attention as the North Iowa Bulls. Founded in 2011, the Bulls have quickly become one of the most dominant teams in the North American Tier III Hockey League (3HL) and have cemented themselves as fierce competitors in the national hockey scene. With a record of seven division titles, two regular season championships, and two Silver Cup championships, the Bulls have consistently proven themselves to be a force to be reckoned with.
But beyond the team’s impressive resume, what truly sets the North Iowa Bulls apart is their long-standing rivalries with other top-tier teams in the league. These rivalries, born out of intense competition and desire for victory, have become some of the most highly-anticipated and thrilling matchups in the world of minor hockey. So let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the North Iowa Bulls’ most important rivalries throughout their history.
One of the Bulls’ oldest and fiercest rivals is the Alexandria Blizzard, based out of Alexandria, Minnesota. At the heart of this rivalry lies a shared desire for dominance in the West Division of the 3HL. The intensity between these two teams is palpable, with both sides consistently pushing each other to their limits in pursuit of victory.
One of the most significant moments in this rivalry came during the 2015-2016 season, when the North Iowa Bulls and the Alexandria Blizzard faced off in Game 4 of the West Division Finals. With the series tied at 2-2, tensions were high as both teams fought fiercely for a chance to move on to the Silver Cup championship. In what can only be described as a nail-biting game, the Bulls ultimately emerged victorious, securing their spot in the Silver Cup and further solidifying their rivalry with the Blizzard.
Granite City Lumberjacks
Another formidable rival for the North Iowa Bulls is the Granite City Lumberjacks from St. Cloud, Minnesota. This rivalry was ignited in the 2012-2013 season, when both teams advanced to the 3HL’s Silver Cup championship game. The game was a back-and-forth battle, with both teams trading goals and momentum until the very end. In the end, the Lumberjacks narrowly edged out the Bulls and took home the Silver Cup, leaving a bitter taste in the Bulls’ mouth.
Since then, the Bulls and the Lumberjacks have continued to face off in high-stakes games, each team pushing the other to their limits. But perhaps the most memorable matchup between these two teams came in the 2017-2018 season, when the North Iowa Bulls swept the Granite City Lumberjacks in a three-game series to win their first regular season championship. The Bulls dominated each game, outscoring the Lumberjacks 15-3 and establishing themselves as the team to beat in the league.
Binghamton Junior Senators
In recent years, the North Iowa Bulls have also developed a fierce rivalry with the Binghamton Junior Senators from Binghamton, New York. This rivalry is relatively new, but no less intense, as both teams have quickly become dominant forces in the 3HL’s East Division. In the 2018-2019 season, the two teams met in the Silver Cup semifinals, with the Bulls taking home the win and advancing to the championship game.
But it was in the 2019-2020 season that this rivalry truly reached new heights. The North Iowa Bulls and the Binghamton Junior Senators faced off in the regular season’s final weekend, with both teams vying for the top spot in the East Division. In a thrilling two-game series, the Bulls emerged victorious, solidifying their spot as regular season champions and further intensifying their rivalry with the Junior Senators.
The North Iowa Bulls have had their fair share of rivalries throughout their history, but what truly sets these matchups apart is the intensity and sheer determination from both teams to come out on top. These rivalries have pushed the Bulls to consistently improve and grow, and have solidified their place as one of the most dominant teams in the 3HL.
But beyond the intense competition, these rivalries have also brought forth some of the most exciting and memorable hockey moments in minor hockey. Whether it’s a close game in the playoffs or a high-stakes regular season matchup, fans of the North Iowa Bulls can always count on their team to put on a show when facing their fiercest competitors.