Hometown Player, Lopez, Signs Tender With the Bulls

The Billings Bulls are proud to announce the signing of forward Zander Lopez to a tender for the 2017-18 season.

Lopez comes to the bulls after completing his Senior campaign in our very own town at Billings High School. During the season, he tallied 15 goals while adding 11 assists for a total of 26 points in 24 games. He helped lead his team to a runner-up state finish in for the Montana High School League.

Zander is a 200 foot forward that will bring speed and tenacity to the bulls this upcoming season. Playing in his own backyard, Lopez will be no stranger to the Centennial Ice Arena. We are very excited for Zander to be joining our team.

 

Bulls Sign Forward Cade Saeugling to a Tender

The Billings Bulls are proud to announce the signing of forward Cade Saeugling to a tender for the 2017-18 season.

The 5’6”, 144 lb. native of Independance, IA comes to the Bulls after playing High School hockey for the Waterloo Warriors.

In his Sophomore and Junior campaign with the Warriors, Saeugling had a total of 12 points in 39 games .

This past season as a Senior, Saeugling saw major improvements in all scoring categories. In 28 games with the Warriors this past season, he scored 14 goals, while adding 19 assists and a total of 33 points.

This is what Saeuglings H.S. Coach, Brian Cook, had to say about his former player; “Cade is focused on team success as opposed to focusing on goals and assists. During games he will be (the teams) hardest worker and will do whatever he has to do for team success. He is a strong leader on and off the ice and a very loyal teammate.”

Billings Bulls name Thorson as new head coach

The Billings Bulls of the NA3HL have announced that Cory Thorson has been named the team’s new head coach and general manager.

Thorson takes over for previous head coach Jimmy Jensen, who was recently named as an assistant coach for the Concordia University-Wisconsin NCAA Division III Men’s Hockey program.

“We are happy for the opportunity that Jimmy has received at the NCAA level and we are extremely excited to have Cory on board as our new head coach and general manager. We feel very fortunate to get the caliber of coach that Cory is. Everyone we talked to about Cory said that he will do great things for our organization,” said Bulls owner Joe Robillard.

Before arriving to Billings, Thorson’s coaching career began at Saint John’s University (NCAA Division III) located in Collegeville, Minnesota where he served two seasons as an Assistant Coach. His main job duties entailed running the defenseman, recruiting and penalty kill.

Thorson’s playing career began at the Robbinsdale Armstrong High School in Plymouth, Minnesota where he played four seasons, graduating in 2008.

After high school, Thorson was recruited to play in the NAHL for the Owatonna Express. During his time with the Express, he played two seasons, while being named captain for his second season with the team. He was also named a nominee for Player of the Year as well as being named to the All-Central Division Team.

While in the NAHL, Thorson was then recruited to play for St. Cloud State University, and became a four-year letter winner for the Huskies. In his Junior season, he helped lead the team to a WCHA conference championship and the teams first ever appearance to the Frozen Four, where he was also named to the Midwest Regional Team. In his senior season, he was a part of the inaugural NCHC Conference Championship team.

During the offseason, Thorson maintains his recruiting base in his home state of Minnesota. He also is the Head Counselor for the Next Level Hockey Camp based out of the Schwans Super Rink in Blaine. He also coaches a 08′ birth year AAA team for his free time.

Bulls Sign Forward Jared Erickson To A Tender

ericksonThe Billings Bulls are proud to announce the signing of forward Jared Erickson to a tender for the 2017-18 season.

The 5’11”, 175 lb. native of Brainerd MN comes to the Bulls after playing High School hockey for the Brainerd Warriors.

As a sophomore Erickson led all JV players in goals with 12, also adding 5 assists.

This past season as a junior, while splitting time between the JV and Varsity, Erickson again put up impressive numbers, scoring 18 goals and adding 7 assists with the JV, and 3 goals and 2 assists with the Varsity.

Erickson was coached last year by current Bulls Head Coach Jimmy Jensen. “This was definitely a good move in terms of Jared’s development”, Coach Jensen said. “By skipping his senior year of high school his season will be twice as long, and he will be forced to show that he can play against bigger, stronger players everyday.”

Coach Jensen was sure about Erickson’s scoring touch. “He’s got a next level shot, and it comes naturally to him” said Jensen. “I’ve seen him score some big time goals against some good teams, and I look forward to continuing to develop that as well as the rest of his game.”

 

Bulls sign Forward Ryan Kelly To A Tender

kelly new oneBillings Bulls are proud to announce the signing of forward Ryan Kelly to a tender for the 2017-18 season.

A native of Lombard IL, the 6’2″ 180lb. Kelly is considered one of the top high school players in the state, putting up 32 goals and 24 assists in 38 games this past season with Glenbard High School.

Kelly’s stat line as well as his face-off win percentage of 79% were enough to garner the team captain All Metro, All Conference, and All-State accolades, as well as being picked to the All-Metro All Star Team and Team Illinois Showcase Team.

Kelly was also captain of the Chicago Bruins U18 team, scoring 36 goals and 45 assists in 50 games, while maintaining 83% face-off percentage and being a CSDHL All-Star selection.

Head Coach Jimmy Jensen was impressed almost immediately. “I walked into a showcase with 500+ players and noticed him instantly”, said Jensen. “He is a dynamic player. He’s tenacious, he plays with an edge, he wins face-offs and he can score. Bulls fans get ready to remember this name.”

Jensen was not shocked to find out that as well as being a top high school hockey player Kelly also maintains a 4.2 GPA. “As much as I liked his game, I was equally impressed with his character”, said Jensen. “This is the type of leader a coach can build a team around.”

Bulls Sign Forward Ryan Stokes To A Tender

IMG_1865The Billings Bulls are proud to announce the signing of forward Ryan Stokes to a tender for the 2017-18 season.

The playmaking left wing spent the last three seasons as a member of the North St. Paul Polars varsity hockey team.

This past season the senior forward produced a scoring line of 3-16-19 in 25 regular season games. Stokes scored three goals, and assisted on another 16 on his way to receiving All-Conference Honorable Mention accolades, as well as the “Most Dedicated” award from his teammates.

Stokes prides himself on being a player that can be relied upon in any situation, and can go out there and make an impact when he doesn’t have the puck. A true hockey player throughout.

“Stokes possesses quick speed,  good hands, and great vision”, said Coach Jensen. “The excitement he has expressed to become a member of the Bulls program is rivaled only by my excitement to bring him in. He is a player who loves the game, and his attitude will carry over to the rest of the team making him not only a favorite in the locker room, but also with the fans.”

 

 

Bulls Sign Defenseman Drew Westphal To A Tender

westphalThe Billings Bulls are proud to announce the signing of defenseman Drew Westphal to a tender for the 2017-18 season.

A recently crowned 2017 State Champion, Wesphal, while serving as team captain, lead the Waterloo Warriors to win the Midwest State High School Hockey Tournament title.

The 5’8″, 180 lb. defenseman was 4th in team scoring this past season, putting up 18 points in 28 games on six goals and 12 assists.

During the State Tournament, Westphal put up three points in three games, scoring one and adding two helpers, assisting on the first goal of the Championship Game.

Voted “Defensive Player of the Year” by his teammates, Westphal will be a great addition to the Bulls’ blueline corps.

“Drew is a leader, and a player who has experienced team success in his career, and every coach wants those players”, said Coach Jensen. “He is a hardhat and hammer type of player who can contribute offensively, while being a great locker room guy.”

Bulls Sign Forward Jake Boje To A Tender

20170401_152116The Billings Bulls are proud to announce the signing of forward Jake Boje to a tender for the 2017-18 season.

Boje comes to the Bulls following a great career at St. Paul Highland Park High School.

The 6’1″ 170 lb. Boje played Varsity for the “Scots” in his hometown of St. Paul, where as a junior last year he finished the season tied for third in overall scoring, with 21 points on 11 goals and 10 assists.

Boje followed that season up by leading all forwards in scoring his senior year, finishing second in overall scoring with 30 points on 16 goals and 14 assists, and being named to the All-Conference team.

Head Coach Jimmy Jensen was optimistic about his most recent signing. “Jake is a talented goal-scorer who knows where to be on the ice”, said Coach Jensen. “It’s not luck that the puck just ends up on his stick in good scoring areas. He works to find space and get open in the tough areas around the net, and then he finishes on his chances.”

Bulls Sign Defenseman Blake Shuck To a Tender

FullSizeRenderThe Billings Bulls are proud to announce the signing of defenseman Blake Shuck to a tender for the 2017-18 season.

Shuck comes to the Bulls after a solid career manning the blue line for the River Lakes Stars, a high school program in Minnesota.

The 6’2″, 210 lb. native of Spicer MN quarterbacked the power-play for the Stars, leading all defenseman with 13 points on six goals and seven assists, and was rewarded by being named to the All-Conference team.

A three sport standout athlete in high school, Shuck was offered a scholarship to play college football, but instead is following his love for the game of hockey to Billings.

“He will be an impact player on our blue line from the start”, said Coach Jensen. “In this game you need to build a strong D-Core to be successful, and I am extremely happy to begin building that core with a player like Blake.”

 

Bulls Sign Goaltender James Engen to a Tender

JimmyEngenThe Billings Bulls are proud to announce the signing of goaltender James Engen to a tender for the 2017-18 season.

Engen comes to the Bulls following a stellar career at Brainerd High School in Minnesota, where he backstopped the Varsity Hockey Team to one of it’s more impressive records in the past few seasons.

Engen posted a record of 8-4-1 during the regular season, with a goals against average of 2.54 and a 8.93 save percentage. He took his team to the section semi-final game where he would lose to the eventual State Championship Runner-Up.

Engen was credited with some big wins this past year, including 3 wins over the 2-time defending section champs from Bemidji, with one coming in the form of a OT win in this years playoffs. For his efforts Engen was named to the All-Conference Team.

Engen is the first player to sign a tender with new Head Coach Jimmy Jensen. “For me, it was an easy decision,” said Jensen regarding the tender offer to Engen. “I was watching him play against some of the top players in Minnesota all season, and I know his goaltending Coach at Brainerd High School was the legendary NHL goaltender Chico Resch. After speaking with Chico, and then with James about the goals he has set for himself, I knew he was a good fit for the Bulls.”

Coach Jensen feels confident in bringing in the first year goaltender saying, “Any night that James is in net for us, we have a chance to win.”